South Korea’s PUBG Corp., the studio behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is suing Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, for copyright infringement.
The lawsuit was filed this past January, according to The Korea Times, although it only became public this weekend. PUBG Corp. is claiming that Fortnite’s popular Battle Royale mode copies PUBG’s interface and in-game items. When Epic launched that Battle Royale mode, in September of 2017, the makers of PUBG took public shots at the developer, saying they were “concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.” Now, the people behind PUBG have bolstered those threats with concrete action.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have always had a tangled relationship. PUBG, based on an Arma mod that dropped 100 people into an arena and pitted them against one another, came out in March of 2017 and became a massive success, drawing millions of players.
It would also go on to inspire countless clones, with Fortnite becoming the largest competitor with its own Battle Royale mode. Whereas PUBG launched only for PC (and, later, Xbox One) and cost money, Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode was free-to-play and launched on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Since then, Fortnite has become a cultural phenomenon, reaching mainstream success the likes of which we have not seen since Pokémon Go.
PUBG runs in the Unreal game engine, which is maintained and developed by Epic. Both companies also have received big investments from China’s massive Tencent conglomeration.
This isn’t the first time PUBG Corp. has taken another studio to court over alleged copyright issues. This past spring, it sued Chinese gaming giant NetEase for its copyright claims in mobile games Rules of Survival and Knives Out.
Bluehole, the parent company of PUBG Corp., has not yet responded to Kotaku’s request for comment. Epic declined to comment.
Update (9:39am): This post has been updated for clarity.
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