PUBG sues Fortnite for copyright infringement

PUBG is suing Fortnite on the basis that the Epic Games title stole its Battle Royale mode.

The PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of publisher Bluehole, has filed an infringement lawsuit against Epic Games. The company has long made the claim that Epic’s Fortnite copies too much from its own signature game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. A court will now decide the validity of these claims and determine whether or not to take action.

PUBG was released in March 2017 and quickly became a smash hit. By the end of its first year, the game was hitting 3 million concurrent players on PC. On the other hand, Fortnite has been even more successful. The Epic Games title reached 3.4 million active players in February and shows no signs of slowing down. Following its release, PUBG’s player base has been cut to half of what it was at its peak, sitting now at 1.5 million players, according to SteamCharts.

“We filed the suit to protect our copyright,” stated an official from PUBG Corp.

When Fortnite was released in July 2017, the game only had the player-versus-AI game mode, “Save the World”. However, Epic Games added the free-to-play battle royale mode to the game in September 2017, which brought on allegations that Fortnite had stolen core elements from PUBG, as well as its user interface, going as far as calling it a “carbon copy.” PUBG Corp. confirmed that they filed an injunction against Epic Games Korea in January, per the Korea Times.

Both games use the battle royale genre, where 100 players clash in a single match to see who will be the last man standing. However, a big difference between PUBG and Fortnite is that the latter also employs “sandbox” features; players are able to gather resources such as wood and brick in order to create bases to defend themselves. These creative aspects have helped the game draw many players away from its more binary counterpart. Furthermore, the developers keep players coming back for more by churning out new content on a regular basis; in-game skins and “Battle Passes” bring the game a ton of its revenue. Finally, Fortnite is very different on a visual level. It has a very cartoony and colorful theme whereas PUBG is gritty and more realistic.

Game merits aside, Epic Games has marketed Fortnite aggressively. The company will provide $100 million in competitive prize pools this year, more than every other esport combined for in 2017. The game also regularly gets exposure by hosting events with celebrity players.

Does PUBG Corp. have a valid reason to sue Epic Games? Let us know in the comments!



  1. Wonderful_Person

    June 9, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    You can argue fortnites shift to battle royale was either a slick move or desperate move, which was inspired solely by PUBG’s success, and maybe a little bit by H1Z1s turnaround. Heres the thing though, and its been discussed a thousand times already, but no owns genres, you cant copyright a direction. Theres more likeness between quake and unreal and nothing came of it. Theres more likeness between ncaa and madden and nothing came of it. PUBG corp doesnt get a scepter and crown for mass popularizing a genre of game. Team death match isnt owned by Bungie because Halo was more popular than Unreal Tournament, its absurd. PUBG should just focus on finally polishing their game to AAA standards and be happy they made a mountain of cash only few game companies could dream of.

  2. Jackshot

    June 9, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Payback’s a bitch eh? Fortnite have been spending their time suing people, instead of using their lawyering money for more constructive uses towards their own game. They even sued a kid (as if a kid’s got money). Now PUBG is suing them right back in the asshole. What goes around comes around.

  3. Ronnie

    June 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Happens all the time, though it has to be said these cases involved varying degrees of similarities between two games.. WC3 Dota vs Dota 2, Paladins vs. Overwatch etc. Hell most of the old school shooters could all sue each other over this “too similar” or “copying too much” nonsense.

    Point is, No one can own a concept or an idea when it comes to video games. It is common place for game developers to take ideas and concepts from another and create competition, and competition is good. It forces innovative ideas out of developers to the players’ benefit.

    More interesting subject would be what’s next for Epic Games, are they going to pull out
    their ol’ counter sue trick over PUBG’s use of their Unreal Engine? Dig up the tiniest details where a violation of agreement might have happened and sue their face off.

  4. Ronnie

    June 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    I think it has little to do with karma or payback, the nature of Fortnite suing a kid and the story behind the lawsuit is very, very different in this case.

    The way I see it, PUBG sued out of desperation. Someone else took their idea and made a (personal opinion): more interesting, more concrete, cheaper competition.

    And my personal opinion/bias would be that PUBG deserves losing players to Fortnite. In PUBG’s early days it was clear as day that it had performance issues due to part rushed development and part buying assets from the online marketplace for its buildings resulting in poor consistency and abysmal optimisation. Yet they could still charge a fairly unfair sum of money (compared to other games that are multiplayer only, in most cases) and become successful.

    PUBG is running out of time, they need to pull something magical out of their asses to get their players back, this lawsuit is really dumb.

  5. R.Z.

    June 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    The only Battle Royales that I aknowledge are on Mario Kart 64 Skyscraper or Block Fort arenas (in which case there is a temporary ceasfire during which everyone drives around collecting and dumping green shells to create a “green hell” on the lower level) and up to 4 players, only in local.
    All else is nonsense.

    Also I thought that gameplay wasn’t subject to copyright law, only lines of code and assets. Has anything changed ?

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