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.
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!
Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.