PUBG Corp sues Epic Games, claiming Fortnite plagiarized its UI and items

    
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A prison of your own making.

Last autumn, Bluehole and PUBG Corp locked horns with Epic Games over PUBG’s assertion that Fortnite had all but ripped off PUBG’s battle royale mode and that it was considering some sort of action. Bluehole later walked back the spat, arguing that it wasn’t claiming copyright over battle royale but was instead objecting to the fact that Epic had access to PUBG’s deepest secrets and code because of Epic’s stewardship of Unreal Engine and had become a competitor after the fact. Bluehole then set about suing Netease over its battle royale clones, Knives Out and Rules of Survival. Netease retaliated by threatening to sue everyone else. That sideshow continues.

But now it appears Bluehole’s made its way back to Fortnite, as multiple outlets picked up a Korea Times piece on a lawsuit the Korean company filed in January; it claims Epic Games plagiarized PUBG’s interface and in-game items. Fortnite was originally launched as a co-op, PvE-centric building game but quickly added a battle royale mode in an apparent attempt to catch up to PUBG and had swept past PUBG’s saturation in just a few months, setting records left and right.

MMORPG players will recall Bluehole as the studio that built TERA in Korea and was sued civilly and prosecuted criminally (successfully) for ripping off NCsoft back in the day; multiple Bluehole employees were accused and convicted of stealing trade secrets, “copious amounts of confidential and proprietary NCsoft information, computer software, hardware, and artwork relating to Lineage 3” from NCsoft.

Certainly makes you wonder where Daybreak and H1Z1 stand on all this, doesn’t it?

Further reading:

Source: Korea Times via GIbiz, Kotaku
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PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Well shit, Bluehole should have sued them right from the beginning when Fortnite Battle Royale was first released.

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Sally Bowls

Hold my tinfoil guys, here is your alternative theory for today.

What if Epic doing FN and these lawsuits are both just steps in the “how much does Ten Cent pay for Bluehole when they end up buying the rest of them?” negotiations?

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Armsbend

In this tinfoil scenario is Tencent whittling down the value of Bluehole or of Epic for a complete buyout?

Not that I think this frivilous lawsuit will make a difference…but for argue’s sakes.

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Sally Bowls

TC already has 40% EPIC and they were trying to buy BH recently, so I was going with BH. I agree this lawsuit is unlikely to change anything. But I would not be surprised if TC pays less than what they would have been willing to pay several months ago.

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socontrariwise

Publicity stunt?

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luxundae

I’m sure the common consumer will benefit from these actions.

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Witches

I’m starting to see a pattern in these engine developer companies, this looks pretty similar to what happened with Hero engine and the Repopolation guys.

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Koshelkin

Epic Games and the Unreal Engine is around since decades. Even if Bluehole gets some recompensation or anything similar, which I consider unlikely, I doubt that Epic or Fortnite would be shut down.

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Darthbawl

Well well well, not like he have heard this before… Oh wait… :P

Feels like PUBG Butthurt, Round II

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Arktouros

Whew, I dunno about this one. I wanna jump on the PUBG just a buncha haters, but man if that isn’t a fucky scenario where your game engine provider is now also your direct competitor in your market.

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officeape

True, but it’s also not a crime. Bluehole is just acting like a sore loser.

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Arktouros

I mean it appears that way on the surface, but none of us really have an understanding of the actual relationship between Blue Hole and Epic Games. For example if Blue Hole went directly to Epic Games with a request to update their engine to support a new feature they were planning those kinda features can directly be inserted into Epic’s game now in parallel. It’s a big tangled mess really that on the surface appears one way, but could be something else entirely that I suppose a lawsuit would sort out.

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officeape

That’s possible, but given Bluehole’s litigious nature over the past year, it just seems like they’re reaching for any advantage they can get.

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Schmidt.Capela

Epic is still active in game development, and has a long story of PvP FPS games; in fact they had a game with a last man standing mode available since the 90s.

If Bluehole wanted an engine whose owner wasn’t a competitor, they should have gone with Unity or else developed their own engine.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah, that’s the thing people like to forget as they jump on the ‘lol PUBG buttmad’ train. It’s potentially a conflict of interest when Epic is both the engine provider and a direct competitor who leapt to get an F2P BR cross-platform before PUBG could even do their XB1 release. We don’t know what the relationship was like between those companies in terms of what data Epic could see about PUBG and so on.

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cursedseishi

I might agree, but when you look into the claims as posted themselves? They are arguing the UI and weaponry are infringing on them on top of mechanics and etc. etc.. And aside from… maybe the compass, which is so laughable to try and claim since most ANY game utilizes that, the timing is what makes it so suspect.

TenCent owns shares in both. Likewise, if this was truly in regards to them believing this was an infringement upon their game the suit would of been done well before now. This is because Fortnite is moving onto Bluehole’s home turf. And it is a short-sighted action because their claims are verging on wholly without merit. And again, lest we forget, Bluehole is hardly a paragon of upstanding legal behavior themselves. The most you can ding Epic for is… Well, Cliffy B getting upset that his own vitriolic nature was driving his workers BACK to Epic.

You can argue intent much as you want, but conflict of interest it isn’t. Especially when updates to the Unreal Engine WOULD be held to expectations of release. If Bluehole could prove that Epic was withholding and hording updates for itself, it’d be one thing, but I doubt it. We’ve seen dozens of shooters and the like made with the Unreal Engine not owned by Epic, and none of them have ever argued such. They might have an internally updated log for their engine, but that is rolled out to the publicly available version as well. And the same goes with Fortnite.

This isn’t like somebody working at a Walmarts, Targets, AND K-Mart. Conflict of interest is inherently and infinitely murkier a claim to make with the industry without any solidly hard facts to back it up.

Xijit
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Xijit

Don’t forget that Tencent (owner of Epic) is also a partial owner of Bluehole (but not a majority share holder) and Bluehole has licensed Unreal for all of their other games, including the upcoming A:IR.

So yeah, this is not going to end well for Bluehole … no matter what happens.

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Sally Bowls

In addition, there is China. While FN is doing phenomenal in the West, the last time I saw numbers PUBG was the dominant game in the world’s largest market, China. And the exclusive distributor for PUBG in that market is … Ten Cent.

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Armsbend

Personally – instead on expending energy worrying about this or that game taking the number one position – I’d be more concerned with next steps to 1) regain my top spot and 2) keep up the idea that my game was the innovative one; instead of the sheep following the herd.

PUBG still has an enormous userbase and even more familiar with the game who might have moved to Fortnight for the time being. Showing that your game is where it’s at would be my paramount goal. They know the game they’d easily come back if given enough reason.

Oh and make it F2P. Give the purchasers a bunch of free shit to make them happy.

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Jeremy Barnes

What a sad showing by PUBG

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Valen Sinclair

Desperation is unbecoming and will just lose you more fans.