Technology

PUBG Corp Sues NetEase For Allegedly Making PUBG Clones

PUBG clones, Fortnite, lawsuit, NetEase
Image Source: Play Store (screenshot)

Ever since its launch, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground – popularly referred to as PUBG – has seen unparalleled success, and this has inspired several PUBG clones. Not just the small gaming studios, but also the well-known ones have imitated the concept. Just last year, battle royale mode was added to Fortnite, which then went to become a massive hit.

Now, it appears that the developer has gotten fed up with PUBG clones, and thus, has decided to take them down. PUBG has filed a lawsuit against NetEase, a Chinese game publisher that launched two titles strikingly similar to PUBG’s smartphone version, according to Ars.

The lawsuit was filed in Northern California’s U.S. District Court, accusing NetEase’s mobile-only games Rules of Survival and Knives Out of violating copyright and trademark laws. The alleged NetEase’s PUBG clones are also about 100 people who land on an island to fight their way to win and survive in the safe zone, which is constantly shrinking as the battle intensifies. Players have the choice of military grade weapons and armor along with various vehicles to cross the island.

PUBG Corp said that before filing the suit it conveyed the complaints to Apple about the titles, which are freely available on the iOS store. However, the developer did not mention in the filing if it asked Apple to pull those games from the store. Upon getting the complaint, Apple forwarded the same to NetEase. Thereafter, the Chinese game maker wrote an email denying that both the titles Rules of Survival and Knives Out are PUBG clones or violate PUBG Corporation’s rights.

The 155-page lawsuit talks about the elements that PUBG clones are violating. These elements include buildings, vehicles, landscapes, clothing, weapons, the pre-play area and the shrinking gameplay area. “On information and belief, Defendants copied PUBG’s expressive depictions of the pre-play area where other depictions could have been used for the purpose of evoking the same gameplay experience depicted in BATTLEGROUNDS,” read an excerpt from the lawsuit.

Further, the lawsuit also claims that PUBG clones even copied PUBG’s iconic “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” salute that is offered to the winner. Also, both the NetEase games use references to this phrase in their advertising campaign. PUBG notes that by using such similarities, NetEase wants the players to believe that both Rules of Survival and Knives Out are developed by PUBG.

“Defendants intended to create consumer confusion as to the source of ROS and intended to cause consumers to believe, incorrectly, that ROS had been developed by PUBG,” the lawsuit read. Both the games, according to the lawsuit, are frequently referred to as the “PUBG” mobile in the marketplace.

With the lawsuit, the game maker wants to make sure that no other games take advantage of their audience. “PUBG has suffered irreparable harm as a result of Defendants’ infringing activities and will continue to suffer irreparable harm in the future unless Defendants are enjoined from their infringing conduct,” the PUBG lawsuit reads.

Meanwhile, to continue its dominance in the Hunger Games style segment, PUBG has added a new map. Savage, the new map, is a lush tropical map with rich colors and is strikingly different from the desert vistas of Miramar or the Erangel. Compared to other maps, Savage is smaller measuring 4×4 km compared to Erangel’s 8×8.

PUBG is getting a tough fight from Fortnite essentially due to the pacing of matches. The new map shrinks the players into a smaller space, increases weapon drops and encourages PvP action upfront. The map is a big improvement over the previous ones, where the player had to spend hours hiding behind the bushes with other players scattered around in a very huge space. In Savage, there is continuous firefighting without having to wait for long.

A couple of days back, PUBG also introduced a Deathmatch mode. The release of the mode remained a silent affair with no official announcement or statement on the game mode. The new mode – also known as “War Mode” – can be accessed through the custom games option. In the death mode, players can choose from the loadouts and where they want to drop on the map. After dying in the new mode, players can respawn unlike battle royale, which offers the players just one life.

PUBG’s new mode is part of its push to offer more limited time events in the game. Previously, creator Brendan Green said that he would like to introduce new game modes to PUBG, and therefore, war mode could just be a start. Green also talked of a story mode for the game although there are plans for the same now.