The makers of Fortnite, one of the world’s most well-liked video games, have been accused of copyright infringement by PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The PUBG Corp’s lawsuit claims that Epic Games, the Korean unit of North Carolina, copied elements of its battle royale game’s interface and items. The suit, alleging copyright infringement, was filed in January in South Korea. The company had complained about noticing certain similarities when Fortnite received its battle royale mode in September 2017. But at that time, PUBG Corp. was contemplating their options and devising a solution. As Epic Games prepares to take their sensation to Korea with Neowiz Games, PUBG Corp. took action on the concerns they’ve had since September.
At present, Fortnite has really taken the world by storm by truly grabbing the interest of the gamers everywhere. In March 2018, SuperData research firm reported Fortnite had 40mn players worldwide and $223mn revenue in the month of March alone. According to the same report, Fortnite—though free to play—generated $296 mn in April through selling in-game items and PUBG was purchased by 44 mn people since its release in March 2017. Whereas, Fortnite sports a cartoonish look in the construction aspect, PUBG is more realistic and focused on straightforward combat. In early days, Fortnite (first released in July 2017) initially presented itself as a single-player game (the Save the World mode), but it shifted to Battle Royale in September 2017, about half a year after PUBG reached its Steam’s Early Access. This leaves no doubt that Fortnite’s mode was designed in response to PUBG’s success.
The two companies share a highly complicated relationship—Epic Games provides PUBG with its “Unreal Engine” technology to create PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This leaves PUBG in a position where it is suing the very company it is dependent upon. Also, both companies are also partly owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s internet giant. Even if these newly-turned rivals declare a truce, there will be no trust left between them for future collaborative work.
It isn’t our word for the verdict of PUBG Corp. but, there is clear evidence that both games share basic mechanics, like the 100-player scope, an ever-shrinking safe zone, and parachuting into the game world. Nonetheless, there are also clear differences between the two games. But, one certainty is that this complicates the already disturbed relationship furthermore.
UPDATE (27 June, 2018): As reported by Bloomberg, the lawsuit has been dropped by PUBG. However, it is not clear if the two companies have reached a settlement.
Further details are awaited and the story will be updated accordingly.