PUBG Corp Are Actually Suing A Copycat Mobile Game Publisher

Lawsuit, lawsuit, chicken dinner.

It looks like Bluehole weren’t kidding when they previously talked about other games copying them and their willingness to sue. The PUBG Corp subsidiary that they set up to continue to develop the hugely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has filed suit against Chinese publisher NetEase over their two mobile games Rules of Survival and Knives Out.

After sending a complaint via Apple in January, PUBG Corp are now taking them to court and listing 25 specific characteristics, that range from “Yep that’s a Battle Royale game and you’ll get absolutely nowhere with that one”, through to “Sure, but you’ve just described an online video game” and the occasional bit of “Yeah, I kind of see where you’re coming from with this one.

So yes, they’re listing elements of the Battle Royale sub-genre like the shrinking safe zone, the way that players drop from a plane and parachute into the world, that you start with nothing and have to scavenge, but they’re also noting incredibly generic video game ideas such as a pre-match lobby, locational damage, modable weapons and armour systems, and more.

There’s nothing stopping NetEase from making largely derivative works, but PUBG Corp do potentially have a point with some of the more directly distinctive characteristics fo the game. For example, PUBG’s frying pan is distinctive in how it works and has come to represent the game, theres parts of the maps in Rules of Survival and Knives Out which look like they’ve been lifted almost directly from PUBG, and they’ve aped PUBG’s use of “winner winner chicken dinner” in advertising to lean heavily on PUBG’s status and potentially mislead consumers.

 

On the whole, where PUBG Corp were all bluster when complaining bitterly about Fortnite, Epic Games’ take on the Battle Royale looks, feels and plays in its own distinctive manner. That’s not quite the case here, and as such they’ve gone ahead with the suit to seek damages and block NetEase from running the games.

Filing via Ars Technica

6 Comments

  1. Fair play to them on this one, the comparisons are uncanny and there’s clearly a lack of originality (shall we just say it’s been outright copied?).

    Biggest problem though, everyone wants in on the BR chemistry and someone will come along and innovate the current model into something completely new. I can see a BR game coming where the environment evolves and there’s great risks from where weapons are, what hazards phase in and out etc.

    Bluehole really need to make sure they lead the forefront on this one, otherwise they risk someone legitimately developing a next level game and then finding they’re behind the times and losing out.

  2. So is the rule “whoever steals an idea first wins” then? And if someone else steals the idea later, they get a response anywhere between “oooh, it’s not fair, have some free publicity” to “release the hounds!”, depending on how big they are?

    • It’s not really the BR idea that’s been copied though, it’s the gameplay formula.

      In other words it’s how PU has implemented an idea from a film into a working gameplay model, and then someone copying that exact model.

      I don’t remember a blue circle forcing people into a small space in the film, anymore than someone being killed with a frying pan.

      • Didn’t the film have something similar to the blue circle though? Zones that would make your head explode changing daily? It’s a long time since I’ve seen the film though.

        And a frying pan as a weapon? They deserve to be laughed at for claiming that.

      • The film had safe zones that changed daily, and Shuya gets a saucepan lid (the fry pan should be considered an homage to that)

        BHPUBG is entitly derivative of other media, but same could be said of most games.

  3. I’m pretty sure all games are based somewhat on the reaction timer i programmed into my ZX81 back in the 80’s. Where’s my money?

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