The gaming industry was recently taken back with the news that Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds publisher, PUBG Corporation, had opened a lawsuit against its strongest competitor, Fortnite.
Last year, PUBG made waves in the gaming industry with its Battle Royale game mode. The popular mode proved to be attractive to many gamers. However, it didn’t take long for Fortnite’s popularity to overtake PUBG. Last month, PUBG Corp took legal action against Epic Games arguing that Fortnite had copied many characteristics of PUBG. The large player base for both of these titles took notice of the PUBG lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, the PUBG developers stated that they were defending its copyrights. But, the history of copyrighting game mechanics was not on their side. Copyright law heavily protects creative properties such as art design, titles, stories, and characters. Copyrighting mechanics is similar to copyrighting entire ideas and proves difficult. Recently, a Texas court ruled against the idea of copyrighted game mechanics in April of 2016. The issue is a grey area, and ruling in favor of such would set a precedent that most courts want to avoid.
Today, a report from Bloomberg states that the PUBG lawsuit has ended but not by a court ruling. The PUBG developer offered a letter of withdrawal to Epic Games. PUBG Corp. did not state why the letter was issued even though they confirmed the action.
Battle Royale is a mode where 100 players are dropped onto a large island map. Players must scavenge for guns and supplies while duking it out until the last player is left standing. The area of play is gradually reduced as time passes. This forces players to come closer together and combat one another. There are variations for the game mode that allows cooperative play with squads trying to survive together instead of single players against each other.
The popular mode didn’t begin with PUBG, but PUBG provided it the structure we all know today. Fortnite developer, Epic Games, took part in the success of PUBG by quickly developing their own version of Battle Royale within Fortnite. Epic Games used many similar features for the structure of their Battle Royale mode such as the contest of 100 players on a large open-world island map. However, Epic Games offered additional features like building fortifications. Additionally, the art design is more cartoony than the realistic design portrayed in PUBG.
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