Comment & Opinion

PUBG Corp's lawsuit against Epic's Fortnite could set an uncomfortable precedent

PUBG Corp's lawsuit against Epic's Fortnite could set an uncomfortable precedent

It's not exactly a shock that PUBG Corp has gone legal against Epic Games.

There was a fair bit of sabre rattling back in September ahead of the launch of Fortnite: Battle Royale and the South Korea-based games firm has already filed lawsuits against NetEase for its own battle royale games.

It's unclear yet whether the case will actually go to trial; the lawsuit was filed in South Korea back in January, according to The Korea Times, and it remains to be seen whether a judge will actually take the case. As far as we can tell, Epic hasn't filed a motion to dismiss either, so it could well go to trial.

Legal consequences

Right now, much ink has been spilt mocking PUBG Corp's decision to file such a lawsuit, but not much has been spent discussing what happens if the company actually wins.

The meat of the lawsuit is that Epic infringed Playerunknown's Battlegrounds' copyright by releasing a battle royale game in Fortnite.

Presumably, this means that it feels it has some ownership of many of the mechanics employed in what we now know as battle royale; 100 players are dropped onto a map and have to fight to the death as the play area closes.

Thus, if PUBG Corp is vindicated and wins against Epic a strange precedent will be set; developers will be unable to borrow mechanics from other games and innovate upon them, lest they face legal action.

Creative director Brendan Greene has in the past argued that games need better protection to stop 'copycat' projects.

Check out the full article on our sister-site PCGamesInsider.biz.

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Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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