PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the smash video game hit of 2017. The game was so popular in fact that a number of clones were almost immediately released. These clones roughly copied the game’s style where players fight ala Battle Royale. None of these clones are more popular than Epic Game’s Fortnite. In many ways, Fortnite has already surpassed PUBG culturally.
Fortnite occupies a space where people of all ages can access the game. It is offered for free on PC and many consoles. PUBG is a much more insular community made up of “hardcore” gamers. Some consider PUBG to be more violent since the game is more realistic compared to the cartoonish violence present in Fortnite. Many in the gaming community have likened Fortnite to the “kids meal” version of Battle Royale shooters. That being said, there is a healthy pro gaming interest in both titles.
The lawsuit was originally reported on by The Korea Times. They claim that a lawsuit was filed by PUBG versus Epic Games in Seoul Central District Court. The claim is a basic copyright infringement suit- essentially PUBG is stepping up to claim their trademark. This could also possibly lead to damages if Fortnite is found to have profited on PUBG’s copyright.
There has been talk in US media circles that a lawsuit would be filed- many find that the only surprise is that this suit was filed in Korea and not the United States. Fortnite and other PUBG clones likely have a serious fight on their hands- while some parts of the PUBG engine were licensed to Fornite originally that did not give them carte blanche to copy the game. Apparently, PUBG believes that Fortnite did not change the game enough from the original inspiration.
The court in Seoul has not made a ruling yet, but when that decision comes down it will likely effect lawsuits between the two companies here in the United States. Both appear to be gearing up for a fight in US court, Korea, and likely other places where they hold the PUBG copyright.
It should surprise absolutely no one that online gaming continues to transcend basically every other medium in entertainment. ‘Fortnite’, developed by Epic Games, has been steadily been working toward becoming the most impressively popular ‘free’ title in the world. Fortnite was released as a free game on both the Xbox and PC as an alternative to the popular paid game, ‘PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds’. Epic Games has been working to make Fortnite more than just a freemium version of a bigger title and their work has been paying off. The addition of paid game modes and fun paid skins has gotten gamers of all ages involved and now Fortnite is enjoying an incredibly profitable turn toward mobile gaming.
Released on iOS devices in closed beta, Epic Games quickly opened up the title to all players. In the first month of Fortnite’s release on mobile applications, the title racked up an incredible $25 million with the bulk of those purchases going straight to the wallets of the development team. Fortnite rocketed to the top of all of the iOS sales charts and it looks to be cementing itself there regardless of competition from other titles, including PUBG’s own mobile response. According to estimates by the team at Sensor Tower, as reported on Variety, Fortnite might be able to rack up nearly $500 million in earnings before the end of the year is out. A strong following on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube has only served to accelerate the growth of the cartoonish battle-royale title.
Now, the developers at Epic Games are looking to take their work to the next level by expanding into one of the most voracious gaming communities in the world: China. Epic Games just released a teaser showcasing their move to the new market and that could end up being huge as Chinese mobile gaming is bigger than most people will realize. Epic Games will likely be partnering with Tencent, their publisher, in the upcoming Chinese release. If Fortnite succeeds in China, and all hints showcase this as a reality, Epic Games could be fundamentally shifting the mobile market of online gaming in a big way. Epic Games has a gem on their hand and as long as they handle it carefully and with tact, it’ll only keep appreciating in value.