Well, it has finally happened, as we all knew it would. I mentioned the possibility of this lawsuit in an article from the middle of December, and touched on it again briefly in an article from around the beginning of last month. Now the time has finally come. The companies behind two of the world’s more growing popular games are going to duke it out in the battleground of the South Korean legal system.
PUBG Corp., the subsidiary company of South Korean game developer Bluehole Studio Inc., has filed a lawsuit in South Korea against the Korean branch of Epic Games, a North Carolina-based video game development company. The suit is alleging copyright infringement, arguing that Epic’s famously popular game ‘Fortnite’ copies multiple characteristics of PUBG’s own famously popular game ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is also commonly known as “PUBG.”
According to the Korea Times, PUBG Corp. actually filed this lawsuit back in January, and they also claim that a Bluehole official told the Korea Times that the recent move was to file an injunction against Epic Games Korea in the Seoul Central District Court. However, other sources have been having trouble finding any supporting documents on the district court’s website, as the website seems to currently be under maintenance.
PUBG, which was first launched for PC on March 23, 2017, is described by its creators as a battle royale game where 100 players are put on a remote island in a last man (or team) standing, winner-take-all showdown that requires both shooting skills and strategic gameplay in order to emerge victorious. Players must hunt for weapons, vehicles, health kits, and other supplies as the play zone continually shrinks, eventually forcing players to face each other in mortal combat or die outside of the shrinking play zone.
The game became a smash hit, currently having sold over 24 million copies, is now available on the Xbox One home gaming console, and even releasing a mobile version of the game.
Epic’s ‘Fortnite’ has a similar concept of 100 people competing with each other in a winner-take-all deathmatch in their battle royale portion of the game, but sets itself apart from PUBG by also incorporating a building feature in their battle royale matches, where players can build fortified strongholds to aid in their strategy while in battle. The graphics are more cartoon-like as compared to PUBG’s more realistic look, and the building portion is very similar to building in Minecraft.
There could be many reasons why PUBG Corp. has decided to finally come for Fortnite. In a short statement surrounding the lawsuit, a PUBG representative stated that “[t]his is a measure to protect our copyrights.” However there may be other contributing factors other than just copyright. PUBG’s popularity continues to fall as Fortnite’s popularity rises. Fortnite is free to play, while you have to purchase PUBG in order to play it.
Epic Games announced in February that it had reached 3.4 million concurrent Fortnite players, which tops PUBG’s record of 3.3 million players according to data site SteamDB. PUBG’s player count has since fallen to approximately 1.5 million.
Even on Twitch, the popular live streaming video platform for video gamers which is owned by Amazon, on Tuesday of last week, PUBG had around 27,000 viewers on Twitch, as compared to Fortnite’s 260,000 viewers. Many popular gamers on different gaming communities have expressed why they prefer Fortnite over PUBG, explaining how Fortnite has fewer (if any) bugs, glitches, and overall fixes problems that PUBG seemingly ignores. Forbes even wrote an article listing reasons why Fortnite is better.
Out of all of the other imitators, duplicators, or just similar concept games, Fortnite gives PUBG the most competition, really giving the game a run for its money. However, this isn’t the first time that PUBG Corp. has accused Epic Games of some form of copying its designs from PUBG. In January, PUBG Corp. filed an in injunction against Epic Games Korea. Now, they’re accusing Epic of copying PUBG Corp.’s weapon designs as well as the user interface from the PUBG game.
The relationship between PUBG Corp. and Epic Games is pretty complicated. Epic actually created the Unreal Engine technology that PUBG was built on. The Unreal Engine software is pivotal in building games, and the Unreal Engine software in particular is the industry-standard for professional game developers. Both PUBG Corp. and Epic Games are also partly owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., which is a major Chinese internet company.
If you want to read more about Bluehole Studio / PUBG Corp. and the PUBG game, you can click on this link right here for more news.