PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer PUBG Corp. has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Fortnite creator Epic Games. The two companies hold their own individual battle royale game, a genre that has become extremely popular of late.
Fornite too similar, says PUBG Corp.
Earlier this year, PUBG Corp., a subsidiary of the South Korean game publisher Bluehole, Inc., filed a lawsuit at the Seoul Central District Court, as reported by The Korean Times. The move was an effort for the company to protect its own copyright, claiming Fortnite is unlawfully similar to PUBG.
Looking at the two titles, there are indeed a lot of similarities. Not only have both games experienced massive successes within a short period of time, but the two games are also less than a year old.
PUBG released its early access in March last year, and Fortnite followed in September, releasing its own battle royale mode. What’s more, both games are built with the Unreal Engine, a game development tool owned by Epic Games. And to top it all off, both companies are at least partially owned by Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that’s been steadily increasing its presence in the global video game market.
The recent lawsuit isn’t the first allegation Bluehole has made against Epic. Shortly after the latter launched its product, Bluehole VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim called out the company in a press release: “We are concerned that ‘Fortnite’ may be replicating the experience for which Battlegrounds is known.”
Epic also allegedly cited PUBG as a major inspiration for its battle royale mode and referenced to the game in promotional videos. Epic Games is currently getting ready to make an entrance into the Korean scene through a partnership with Neowiz Games.
Not the first protective lawsuit from Bluehole
The Epic Games suit marks the second major filing by Bluehole against companies it considers copycats. In April, the company levied a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Chinese tech giant NetEase. That company is behind the mobile games Knives Out and Rules of Survival, which, according to Bluehole, contain “similar visual and audio elements” to PUBG.
Additionally, according by PUBG Corp., by launching its mobile game to iOS and Android before PUBG Corp. could launch its own mobile version, NetEase allegedly attempted to attract mobile players looking for a mobile PUBG. With such a rapid popularity explosion, a move like this could have groundbreaking effects for the companies’ business development.