It finally happened. Korean game company PUBG Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, if there are any clear copies based on the former. The lawsuit was filed as early as January according to a PUBG Corp. representative, as stated in Korea Times.
Ever since the release of Fortnite Battle Royale, PUBG Corp. did show much concern over their competition that would overshadow them in every way possible in the next months leading to the current year of 2018. “We are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known,” said PUBG Corp. in a statement back in September 2017. Those “concerns” include the UI, similar gameplay, rules and objectives of the game as well as the overall familiar structure between PUBG and Fortnite.
According to them, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the “first standalone Battle Royale survival shooter game.” Following up that statement, they claim that they had a negotiation with Epic Games when they licensed the signature Unreal Engine 4 for PUBG.
Back in March of this year, Brendan Greene, the founder of PUBG (as well as the actual PlayerUnkown), is alright with Fortnite. He said that the rivalry between PUBG and Fortnite makes the battle royale genre healthy and meta in the current demographic of gamers especially those who are fond of multiplayer games.
“It’s great that the battle royale space is expanding and Fortnite is getting battle royale game mode in the hands of a lot more people,” Greene said, based on a news report by The Verge (https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/23/17156952/pubg-creator-brendan-greene-epic-games-fortnite-battle-royale-genre-gdc-2018).
The catch in this whole courtroom drama is that the lawsuit was filed in Korea. As much as there are no actual ground rules on what happens if the lawsuit is filed in a different country to sue an American-based company, this whole copyright topic will still be on-going and might yield an unexpected result in the end.
This wasn’t the first time PUBG Corp. sued against a rival company: they did the same thing earlier this year against NetEase Games with their own two (yes, two) battle royales, Rules of Survival and Knives Out. If anything, the two games are much more similar to PUBG than how Fortnite is the same as PUBG. Rules of Survival Alone has 10 million downloads in Google Play and is one of the games with the most active daily players especially in South East Asia. This is due to its free-to-play system as well as having system requirements that are not as demanding as PUBG and even Fortnite. The lawsuit against NetEase is still on-going too.
However, the most ironic issue about this whole drama was that PUBG Corp claims that PUBG is the first real battle royale shooter, when after all these years, everything started from H1Z1: King of the Kill and was just started as a gimmick in Minecraft to emulate the gameplay based on the hit movie The Hunger Games. If anything, Daybreak Game Company, the creator of H1Z1, should sue PUBG since the former was the original standalone shooter-survival game.
“Battle Royale” is a multiplayer genre that was heavily based on the hit Japanese movie back in 2000 with the same title.
All these lawsuits, all these ironies.
On March 2017, PUBG—PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released on Steam. What happens next would redefine the face of multiplayer throughout all gaming platforms. In the wake of PUBG, tons of Twitch streamers began broadcasting it, introducing a new line of competitive multiplayer to the table. It had a mix of everything—nerve-racking shootouts, low to midkey paranoia of present danger of enemies within the field, fast-paced gunplay, and even stories to tell. The goal of PUBG is very similar to H1Z1 and The Culling: Be #1 or die trying. Unlike the other two, this one had a more realistic take on both graphics, bullet physics, recoil and gun sounds. Because of the influence of Twitch streamers, the game blew out of proportions to become the #1 most played multiplayer game on Steam for months, starting from July that same year.
Amidst the now-called “Battle Royale” type of survival game, Epic Games conducted their own version for just a few months, despite all their hard work on Save the World. On September 2017, Fortnite Battle Royale was released on their Epic Game Launcher as Free to Play Early Access. Ever since the deployment of it, Fortnite has become the #1 highest player activity since the 3rd quarter of 2018. The game receives tons of update almost every week. Currently, Fortnite is raking up huge bucks and even had a revenue of almost $300M in April 2018 alone, according to a report by Gamespot (https://www.gamespot.com/articles/fortnite-had-a-massively-successful-april/1100-6459210/).
Ironically, a free-to-play game has earned more money than games with the standard full-retail price of $60.