Rivalries are nothing new for the gaming industry. PS4 vs Xbox One, Call of Duty vs Battlefield, Dota 2 vs League of Legends, and the list goes on. 2018 brought with it another major rivalry when Fortnite started surpassing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in terms of viewership and popularity. The creators of PUBG weren’t too happy about that and retaliated by threatening to sue Fortnite developer Epic Games for allegedly copying their intellectual property. Accusations have been flying left and right since late last year but it looks like PUBG Corp. is now finally ready to go the extra mile.
PUBG Corp. reportedly initiated legal action against Epic Games back in January. However, the publisher managed to keep this information secret until earlier today when the South Korean press decided to spill the beans. PUBG. Corp claims that the creators of Fortnite downright copied important elements of their game. This includes the user interface and several weapon designs, among others. Presumably, PUBG Corp. couldn’t sue Epic Games for also copying elements of the actual gameplay. Both tiles are part of the Battle Royale genre so certain similarities were unavoidable.
These types of lawsuits are fairly common in the gaming industry but this particular one is stranger than most. For one, both PUBG Corp. and Epic Games are owned by Chinese conglomerate giant Tencent. Moreover, PUBG runs on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and uses a variety of assets from its store. Finally, PUBG weapons are based on real-life firearms so the claim that Fortnite copied the designs is a bit unrealistic. PUBG Corp’s chances of winning the lawsuit under these circumstances are a bit slim, to say the least. However, it seems like they’re going ahead with it anyway.
The Battle Royale King
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was initially launched as part of Steam Early Access back in March 2017. Within a few months, the game became a massive hit and popularized the Battle Royale genre as we known it. PUBG wasn’t the first Battle Royale game but it was by far the most successful one for most of 2017. That is, until Fortnite came along.
The original Fortnite was released in July 2017 and was met with mostly negative reviews by players and critics alike. Epic Games were quick on their feet, however, and decided to change direction asap. Taking advantage of PUBG’s huge popularity, Epic Games decided to launch a Battle Royale Mode for Fortnite, which came out a few months later in September.
Their take on the genre uses the same core gameplay formula but features crafting and building, as well as a more cartoonish art style. Perhaps more importantly, though, Fortnite Battle Royale was launched as a very accessible free-to-play title. Meanwhile, PUBG costs $30 and its realistic gameplay makes it fairly difficult for new players to get into. Because of all the aforementioned reasons (and a few others) Fortnite slowly but surely surpassed PUBG by early 2018. It’s not a stretch to say that Fortnite is currently the most popular game out there and it’s easy to see why.
PUBG Continues its Decline
PUBG’s player base has been constantly declining ever since January and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Unfortunately, news of this lawsuit is unlikely to help its case. PUBG is still struggling with hackers, performance problems and a severe lack of new content. It’s likely that the remaining players won’t be happy to hear that PUBG Corp. is filing lawsuits instead of doing more to fix the game. On the other hand, PUBG’s recent Steam reviews are mostly negative anyway so things can’t really get much worse from here.