PUBG: Battlegrounds maker sues Apple, Google, and the developer of PUBG Mobile clones

midian182

Posts: 7,770   +79
Staff member
What just happened? Krafton, the company behind PUBG: Battlegrounds, is suing the developer of two mobile games for allegedly copying the famous battle royale title, as well as Apple and Google for hosting them on their respective stores. Krafton also takes issue with Google for allowing clips of a feature-length Chinese film on YouTube that it says is an infringing live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds.

TechCrunch writes that the alleged PUBG Mobile copycats are Garena Online’s Free Fire games, which Krafton calls "thinly veiled unauthorized versions of Battlegrounds."

Krafton claims that Free Fire and Free Fire Max “extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in combination, including Battlegrounds’ copyrighted unique game opening ‘air drop’ feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and the overall choice of color schemes, materials, and textures.”

According to the complaint, Garena started selling a mobile game in Singapore originally called Free Fire: Battlegrounds (now just Fire Free) shortly after PUBG launched in 2017 that copied aspects of Krafton's game. While the claims regarding that title were settled, Krafton never entered into a licensing agreement with Garena, and the company was not authorized to "sell or distribute games infringing [Krafton's] copyright" in the US.

On 28 September 2021, Garena released a different mobile game, called Free Fire Max, on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Krafton says this game also rips off elements of PUBG and has earned Garena “hundreds of millions of dollars” in sales, making Apple and Google plenty of money in commissions. The Verge writes that Free Fire, which is free with in-app purchases, earned $1.1 billion in player spending in 2021.

Krafton says it asked Garena to “immediately stop its exploitation of Free Fire and Free Fire Max” on December 21, but it refused. Krafton also asked Google and Apple to stop distributing the games—both are still available on the stores.

Google-owned YouTube is also named in the suit. Krafton has asked the platform to remove any videos featuring Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay that infringe on PUBG copyrights. It also wants a feature-length Chinese film called BiuBiuBiu removed from YouTube as it is "nothing more than a blatantly infringing live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds." Check it out below.

Krafton is asking for a jury trial in its lawsuit and is seeking damages from all three parties for direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement. It is also asking for the profits made by Apple and Google from Free Fire and Free Fire Max "in amounts to be proven at trial."

Jason Golz, a spokesperson for Garena parent company Sea, told The Verge that “Krafton’s claims are groundless.”

Image credit: Ritesh Ranjan Sett

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,080   +3,983
Notice how they're not trying to sue Epic for Fortnite or Activision for CoD Warzone. The later in particular is probably extremely close to a "copy" of pubg

Just a shameless money grab: trying to copyright and enforce what basically amounts to gameplay modes and just the damn looks in the case of a completely different film for the "live action" version is just ridiculous. While I could concede the Free Fire thing might actually be just an asset flip of pubg in which case they could have a case, this other stuff about the video just makes me think its probably not at all just an asset flip, in any case it just deflects the whole think and kinda makes me wish the named parties counter sue so hard they bankrupt the pubg people.
 

Eversong

Posts: 9   +4
Well... Krafton, Epic, Blizzard, whatever, you guys want money - make a better game and convince us it's worth buying and sinking hours into it. It is as simple as figuring out what's wrong with the direction (via stats analysis and players' feedback) and staying on top, fending off any rivals by providing a better experience.
What you make is a commodity product, no different from raw sugar. Want to sue me for copying some ideas? In the region where your company has no license neither any presence? Ok, I'll tell a newbie lawyer to politely answer you "Suck a lolipop while necessary paperwork is being made to justify that request. When it gets rejected, you pay for the expenses, have a nice day."
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,592   +1,413
How to wring every little bit of money out of a franchise. Can’t blame them if these other companies have ripped them off.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 179   +86
Imagine when the Starcitizen publish after so many years and Eve online appears and tell “you will not pass, it’s copyright infringement. We own the space, because it was our idea”. :)

ps: I think the PUBG(2007) is clearly “copy” the Just Cause 1 (2006) and the idea for the frying pan as shield is copied from a 1985 film (Legends) where a goblin use a frying pan to dodge bullets.
 
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amghwk

Posts: 1,175   +1,096
Bring them on! Suing everyone inside-out, upside-down left and right - It's the corporates' national pastime. (And a side business for extra income).
 

0dium

Posts: 311   +366
So stupid... So Id software should sue all the developers of fps games cuz they copy the same idea