PUBG Corp Files Lawsuit Against Epic Games for Fortnite Battle Royale Concept

Did Epic Games steal the concept for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds? Is it a concept that can even be stolen? That may be up for the courts to decide, as PUBG Corp has officially filed suit.

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Remember when Epic Games released Fortnite's Battle Royale mode and the folks at publisher Bluehole Studios took umbrage to this, accusing Epic Games of stealing the core concept of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds? We all had a few laughs over in the comments, but it's well over six months after the accusations were first made and the Korea-based PUBG Corp still isn't laughing. In fact, they've taken their saber rattling a step further.

According to a Korea Times report (via Game Informer, PUBG Corp has officially filed suit against Epic Games for Fortnite's use of the Battle Royale concept. The report cites that PUBG Corp originally filed an injunction against Epic back in January.

This move comes days after Epic detailed its plans to officially get into esports. It also comes days after Epic announced plans to expand Fortnite Battle Royale into Asia by collaborating with Neowiz Games.

The suit was filed in South Korea's Seoul Central District Court. The court will decide in the near future whether this lawsuit will go to trial.

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

    • reply
      May 29, 2018 12:06 AM

      What a piece of shit studio. Trying to sue over gameplay? Good luck.

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        May 29, 2018 2:24 AM

        Calm down there sparky

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        May 29, 2018 3:35 AM

        They are rather specific,

        -user interface/mini-map implementation, healing system, crosshair overlay and this is dumb af the exact number of players in the mode.

        And while I don't agree with most of it, epic kinda has it coming in the blatant way they went around namedropping pubg in marketing (which is those folks at least "officially" were pissed of about, its a complete dick move to lease out the engine, then use their brand to market your own clone).

        Fortnite went from a soulless randomly crammed together clone of every popular game (minecraft/towerdefense/zombie mode with a generic comic look) stuck in development hell forever, to a competent clone of pubg and now slowly is developing its own flavor.

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          May 29, 2018 3:37 AM

          Unless they ripped off code / art, I don’t see them winning. How many games pretty much copy each others look/style?

          What about all the MOBA games out there?

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            May 29, 2018 3:44 AM

            I don't have a strong opinion on it. I haven't played much fortnite and of the 60 hours I played pubg I hated at least 50 hours of it.

            Both are partially owned by tencent and I assumed they are solvent enough to hire specialized lawyers that will tell them if they have a case or not.

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          May 29, 2018 6:28 AM

          all those things are similar to other implementations that have been "cloned" back and forth in the game industry for decades. I have a hard time seeing pubg win here.

          They did use PUGB in their initial press release, which is superdumb, but they removed it almost instantly and didn't do it again afaik.

        • Zek
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          May 29, 2018 9:23 AM

          Fortnite BR has a ton of its own flavor and it has from day one. Building alone changes the game completely compared to PUBG.

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      May 29, 2018 1:21 AM

      Do you think H1Z1 is pissed?

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        May 29, 2018 7:49 PM

        PlayerUknown was a paid consultant on h1z1 br. I assume his contract covered him making a non arma mod br

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      May 29, 2018 1:56 AM

      I thought Tencent was looking to invest more in Bluehole? Is this their answer?

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      May 29, 2018 3:10 AM

      Lawsuit crates incoming

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      May 29, 2018 3:29 AM

      Don't innovate, litigate. Sucks to no longer be the hot item anymore, must be time to send in the lawyers.

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      May 29, 2018 4:21 AM

      Hey, while we're at it, maybe id can sue every developer that's made a deathmatch mode in FPS.

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        May 29, 2018 4:23 AM

        don't give bethesda any ideas

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          May 29, 2018 4:40 AM

          Given that they are owned by zenimax its not unlikely but their masters are probably too busy driving studios into financial ruin so it can buy them up on the cheap (unless you are humanhead studios and managed to fend them off somehow). Dudes haven't even spent those 500mill moneyhats and have already turned around to sue samsung.

          Going after mojang for the use of the word "scrolls" didn’t make any money.

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            May 29, 2018 8:23 AM

            Their plan to bankrupt developers to pick them up on the cheap had a pretty poor success rate I think.

            They got Arkane out of it, but they tried and failed with InXile, Human Head and Splash Damage. Their more recent acquisitions (id, Machinegames, Tango) did not seem contentious.

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              May 29, 2018 8:33 AM

              In the process they fucked consumers and splash damage and humanhead pretty good though.

              Remember brinks stellar post launch support, they made Bank on pre-orders and bailed (you think they paid out bonus money :) ? They never released nix dedicated servers) .

              The only way to run the game is windows server binaries.
              We are talking about the same assholes that spear headed nickel and dime shemes and horse armor at the price mobile and some indy games are sold.

              Also arcane and its talent seems like a pretty good studio to pick up.

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                May 29, 2018 9:32 AM

                Splash Damage got out of Brink and immediately created a self-publishing company. I really think they would have refused to work on the DLC for that game if they hadn't been contractually obligated to do so. I get the impression that they HATED working with Bethesda.

                InXile seems to have been crippled for a couple of years by working with Bethesda, finally clawing their way out with Wasteland 2.

                Human Head looks like they're still scrambling, but hopefully they can get back on their feet with their new Rune game.

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        May 29, 2018 11:56 AM

        who owns CTF

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      May 29, 2018 5:42 AM

      they’re just as salty as their players.

      a WALL? how can you just build a wall that doesn’t make any sense!!

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      May 29, 2018 6:31 AM

      popcorn.gif

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      May 29, 2018 6:32 AM

      I always imagined PUBG eventually just fizzling away to it's death, I never imagined they'd silicon knights' themselves by effectively forcing Epic to terminate their licensing agreement like this.

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        May 29, 2018 6:42 AM

        Whether they win or lose i seriously doubt this will effect the relationship to that extent. Look at Apple and Samsung, they've been suing each other for years and they still have a relationship with Samsung providing parts to Apple.

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      May 29, 2018 6:46 AM

      Also keep in mind they are suing in South Korea.

      They likely would fail in the US where gameplay cannot be considered copyrightable. S.Korea is likely different given the flood of mobile clones there, the law may favor them. (Epic has a S. Korean studio, hence the ability to sue them there).

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      May 29, 2018 8:11 AM

      Epic really did straight up steal the design of PUBG. But regardless, the devs of PUBG have been mismanaging the development of the game so badly. Constant QA issues, taking forever to implement seemingly simple things, horrible netcode, playing catch up to Fortnite for things like timed events.

      Just goes to show it won't take much at all to steal away the PUBG user base.

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        May 29, 2018 8:17 AM

        Yep, now wasting money on dumb lawsuits. Glad to see the priorities are straight. Not to mention tencent doing a almost carbon copy of the game called ring of elysium.

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        May 29, 2018 11:00 AM

        I disagree because being inspired by something is not stealing. Not to mention PUBG didn't even create the idea of a battle royale game.

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          May 29, 2018 11:05 AM

          Epic looked at the success of PUBG and blatantly made a clone with their own art style.

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            May 29, 2018 11:05 AM

            Eh I take that back. There's enough different about Fortnite to not be considered a clone.

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              May 29, 2018 11:14 AM

              other than the 100 player cap and the ring/zone the games are very different. Some of the things that seem copycat are actually game devises from other titles, some that were created by Epic.

              The it's really the big map + shrinking zone that kind of defines the game right now.

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            May 29, 2018 11:12 AM

            Again I disagree. If every game was held to the same standards you are applying we would never have different games in a sub genre. Just because you do something popular doesn't mean nobody else can do it. Especially when PUBG didn't even invent battle royale.

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            May 29, 2018 11:22 AM

            Even if that was true, it's not stealing. You have to own something for it to be stolen from you. The idea for a mode of FPS isn't something you can own (and definitely shouldn't be).

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        May 29, 2018 11:32 AM

        This is how game design has always worked though. Doom clone, GTA clone, etc, etc.

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        May 29, 2018 4:19 PM

        How so. Fortnite is closer to H1Z1 than it is PUBG.

        PUBG is the odd game out because its so slow and tries to be realistic. Neither H1 nor Fortnite attempt either. And building is a core element that only Fortnite has.

        If we are going to get down to what makes a BR game a BR game, like player counts, then PUBG stole every element in its game, including the shrinking zone. But no one is dumb enough to sue over that.

        While still popular, PUBG has lost a lot of players to Fortnite, and this is probably the easiest way for them to recover some of that financial loss.

    • Zek
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      May 29, 2018 9:20 AM

      Haha, good luck fellas. Every successful game in history has been copied by its competitors at least this much. They had plenty of time to build a lead and they got beat fair and square.

      I will admit it is unusual for the owners of a game engine to so thoroughly steal the lunch of a game that was made on their own engine. But there's no rule against it - if there was then Epic wouldn't be able to make games at all. That's business.

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        May 29, 2018 9:25 AM

        A core issue that came out earlier is that in building PUBG, Greene and his team frequently collabed with Epic support on what they needed technical support with, so clearly Epic knew they were building a battle royale game. To be fair on Epic's side, their interviews on the success of FBR all state that they only started working on it after the main Fortnite game was out in early access and after seeng PUBG's success, so I doubt they were making their version at the same time they were helping PUBG, but there would be information that could be considered confidential that Epic may have used to get that legs up in the design (in part, having full control of the Unreal engine) that is why PUBG is taking action.

        • Zek
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          May 29, 2018 9:33 AM

          Yeah the timeline doesn't add up to suggest that Epic heard this unknown indie dev was remaking an ARMA mod and decided then and there they would steal that idea. No one knew this was the next big thing until after PUBG blew up. The best criticism I've heard is that they worked with Epic to make their engine more suitable to BR games, and then Epic turned around and profited on that. But of course there was never any exclusivity arrangement for the improvements Epic made to their own engine, that's preposterous.

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            May 29, 2018 9:38 AM

            There is the possible situation that Epic, knowing they needed netcode for a 100-person game, did their own work within the Unreal engine group to prep that (it wasn't needed for Fortnite's main mode or for Paragon). I can see if they had that netcode ready, and they had everything else on the engine set from Fortnite, that a two-month dev time from concept to reality made a lot of sense, and that could be what PUBG is looking at, how fast they were able to execute.

            It's hard to tell given this is all happening in Korean courts, not the US.

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      May 29, 2018 9:25 AM

      So much "prior art" will be used to shut this down, quickly.

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      May 29, 2018 9:29 AM

      I guess they can see the circle closing in on them. Cash out while you can!

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      May 29, 2018 9:32 AM

      I do wonder what NDAs (if any) were signed by EPIC

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        May 29, 2018 9:41 AM

        Standard ones. I can't imagine what an NDA would count for here though?

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          May 29, 2018 9:49 AM

          I believe it would matter if bluehole gave epic material access to their code/assets under the NDA, and then epic used that knowledge to create their own versions

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            May 29, 2018 10:10 AM

            If they claim Epic gained an advantage by having access to and eyes on pubg earlier than any other publishers simply because of access through UE development channels I could see them having a chance.

            Epic is in a very weird spot being both an engine and game dev. I'm sure their lawyers considered all this before making fortnite but who knows. They certainly did seem to get a very very early/prescient jump on the rest on the industry.

            As well could there have been an internal advantage with optimizing for large amounts of players in internal beta builds and using those for fortnite dev while pubg is stuck on an earlier version? Lots of questions to be asked. Like I said, Epic could very easily get stuck in the swamp of conflict of interest.

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            May 29, 2018 2:01 PM

            I can't imagine how that would happen. Even before the Silicon Knights fiasco Epic rarely would see any licensee's code. Only if someone needed support over something. Epic has no interest in seeing what engine licenses are doing other than to make cool show reels for the engine.

            If in some strange alternate universe Bluehole sent epic their code/assets (again, no reason to, Epic is not a publisher) then Epic would have settled this immediately. They have zero incentive to screw licensees. I imagine the only reason they didn't just pay them something to go away is at the same time they have to be fair to everyone and not show that licensees can make unfounded claims and bully Epic around.

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      May 29, 2018 9:42 AM

      Not sure how you defend this in court. It’s not like it’s patented.

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      May 29, 2018 9:49 AM

      My brain can't figure out how this can be anything other than a hail mary money grab, because there's a bunch of reasons this makes no sense.

      1) wake up and realize that Epic doing a Battle Royale game mode means the core UE4 game will be more optimized. Not like PUBG needs any optimization help....oh wait.

      2) there has been strong precedence of allowing similar things unless you can prove art/code was literally stolen. Recreated is fine. And this is AMAZING, because if it wasn't then the big pubs would just sue one another and small indie devs continually trying to claim who owns FPS games.

      3) it's not even their concept, and the designs they speak of are just optimal endpoints

      Can you imagine if back in the day id and Epic sued one another over various UI aspects of Quake and Unreal? It was great fun having them both compete to make the best game.

      They keep coming back to "well they licensed us the engine" part but I don't see how that is not a plus. What they are really upset about is that they (presumably) didn't cut a deal for a flat rate on the engine and are probably stuck with the standard UE4 licensing deal and they just want leverage to get out of that. I have no actual info, just a guess.

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      May 29, 2018 10:05 AM

      Last grasp of a dying fad. RIP fun times.

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      May 29, 2018 10:41 AM

      So this is what they are doing instead of fixing the game.

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        May 29, 2018 10:51 AM

        it feels pretty fitting for the game and its community on some level

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      May 29, 2018 10:52 AM

      What is the basis of the suit? Copyright? Contract?

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      May 29, 2018 11:40 AM

      They're in a odd situation because PUBG is based off of Unreal Engine 4 which Epic makes. I don't think it's as simple as 'HEY U GUYZ TOOK OUR GAEM IDEA!' as people are making it out to be.

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      May 29, 2018 1:05 PM

      One important thing to note...

      When you're trying to protect your mark, you have to do it unilaterally. So there are some legit cases where pubg is being copied almost directly, but in order to enforce that, you need to enforce across the board.

      So they may settle amicably with Fortnite in order to continue their suit against other groups infringing.

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        May 29, 2018 1:15 PM

        Its important to note that they arent JUST suing Epic, its part of a bunch of BR games, which lends a bit of credence to what i mentioned above

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          May 29, 2018 2:07 PM

          I don't see how someone can claim they own the Battle Royale game mode and yet no one has successfully done the same for TDM, CTF, King of the Hill, zombies, horde mode, etc.

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        May 29, 2018 4:43 PM

        ...but this doesn't seem to be a trademark suit? Suing over an entire mode of play isn't really the same as saying someone is copying your name or likeness.

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      May 29, 2018 2:52 PM

      PUBG are run by idiots. They had such a great idea and they are obviously good programmers to put their idea into action but they are just completely fuckin horrible at business.

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      May 29, 2018 3:07 PM

      And you know what, say what you will about PUBG and the donkey brained devs behind it, it's still a fantastic fucking game. There's still nothing like finding yourself in a fire fight for your life or hunting prey across the map, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

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        May 29, 2018 5:22 PM

        Great, but it doesn't mean they own the genre.

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      May 29, 2018 3:46 PM

      Looks like Pubg knows they're done-for. A last grasp attempt at relevancy.

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      May 29, 2018 4:11 PM

      RIP PUBG

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      May 29, 2018 4:47 PM

      This is gonna sound gross, but I'd totally sue too.

      Say I'm PUBG Corp's council: I know my client is rolling in cash, and something really close in design is rolling in ridiculous cash as well. I'll get paid to collect money for my client, so I'll draft some litigation to see if the courts bite.

      It's what rich companies tend to do eventually; throw lawyers at the walls to see if they can bring back some gold.

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        May 29, 2018 5:31 PM

        Unless Epic uses this as grounds to suspend PUBG's license of Epic's technology. Then they're fucked.

        In fact, it might even turn out this is a preemptive strike by PUBG if they think Epic is closing in on them.