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Creators of PUBG are suing Epic Games because of Fortnite

Since the dawn of time (actually just last September), the PUBG vs. Fortnite conversation has been raging online, but that's typical about which is the better game; however, that conversation has now extended to involve lawyers.

Engadget reports that PUBG Corp filed a lawsuit against Epic Games back in January of this year over its Battle Royale mode, claiming it infringes on the game copyright.

A quick history lesson

PUBG was officially released March 23, 2017 — although it was in early access off Steam before that — and it largely features the battle royale gameplay we all know and love today. Since its release, PUBG's gameplay has remained relatively the same.

Fornite officially came onto the market in July 2017, and at first, was a solo game (Save the World mode). It wasn't until September of 2017 that the game released its battle royale mode.

Similar but different

Clearly, to anyone who has played both games, PUBG and Fortnite have a lot of similarities. Both feature a finite map that gets smaller and smaller as you battle up to 99 other players to be the last man standing.

Of course, there are differences in gameplay, most notably Fortnite's construct system that allows players to build forts, towers, walls, stairs, and other structures to hide in or block oncoming bullets.

This lawsuit seems... concerning

I probably shouldn't have to say this, but I will anyway. I am not a lawyer in any way, shape, or form and my knowledge of the law (especially in copyright issues) is quite limited; however, I am worried this lawsuit could set a dangerous precedent.

Although Engadget citing that the PUBG Corp's lawsuit was focused on "particularly its interface and in-game items" in Fortnite, a win for PUBG, in this case, could change the gaming industry in a huge way.

Just think of how many FPS titles feel, look, and play so similarly that sometimes I even forget the names. Could you imagine if game studios like 2K, Activision, and EA starting suing each other over every modern FPS game that has the same item names? In the end, it's almost always the consumers who lose in these scenarios.

I know this isn't a direct comparison; however, back in 2014, the creators of the card game called Bang! filed a lawsuit against Yoka Games for copyright infringement because its game known as Legends of the Three Kingdoms. The court ruled there was no infringement, because nothing proprietary was actually used.

The judge in its ruling said this:

"In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, the method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work."

In layman's terms, an idea or mechanics of a game aren't subject to copyright. I know this case is for a board/card game, but it's certainly an interesting case to keep in mind.

That being said, if PUBG is specifically targeting Epic Games for its use of interface and items, the lawsuit may very well have some merit.

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments down below.

Luke Filipowicz
Luke Filipowicz

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

2 Comments
  • PUBG? Isn't the game called Playerunknown's BattleGrounds? I thought that writers were supposed to inform all of their readers prior to resorting to an acronym throughout a piece. I had to search another site (I had forgotten what it stood for since I'm not a player of either game). Even though I'm the one living under a rock, I think it would be helpful to call the game by it's name and then "known as PUBG" or something similar.
  • If PUBG are suing Epic/Fortnite over game elements, surely they are opening themselves up to Daybreak coming at them for H1Z1 (game formerly known as King of the Kill) similarities. People in glass houses shouldn't throw frags...