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PUBG takes US game firm to court

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developed by PUBG / Courtesy of PUBG
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developed by PUBG / Courtesy of PUBG

By Jun Ji-hye

Korean game developer PUBG, a subsidiary of Bluehole, has filed a copyright violation lawsuit against U.S.-based Epic Games, asking a court to determine whether the latter's "Fortnite" was copied from the former's "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds."

A PUBG official said Friday that the firm filed an injunction, alleging copyright infringement, with the Seoul Central District Court against Epic Games Korea.

"We filed the suit to protect our copyright in January," said the official.

Released in July last year, "Fortnite," an online shooter, has recently become popular around the world, threatening the popularity of "Battlegrounds" that was a great hit in the global game market last year.

When "Fortnite" was first launched, the game only had the "Save the World" mode, at which gamers build walls and defended it. But in September, the firm added the free-to-play "Battle Royale" portion into the game, provoking a plagiarism controversy and allegations that it copied "Battlegrounds" items and user interface (UI).

When the controversy flared in September, Bluehole said in a statement that the firm was mulling ways on how to respond to the claims that core elements and UI of the Battle Royale mode of "Fortnite" seemed to be similar to those of Battlegrounds.

The Korean firm added that it was regrettable that Epic Games, which was a partner of Bluehole, had released a similar game.

"Battlegrounds," a survivor shooter game reminiscent of the Japanese film "Battle Royale," was released in March last year to early access on Steam, the world's largest online game store platform.

Since its release, more than 40 million copies of the video game have been sold on Steam as of April. Over 4 million copies of the game's console version, which was released last December, have also been sold.

The Korean game has received various awards in and outside the country, and its mobile version, released on May 16, continues the popularity.

Epic Games has also enjoyed rising popularity of "Fortnite," which has attracted over 40 million users around the globe.

Epic Games is currently preparing to make a foray into the Korean market in cooperation with Neowiz Games as the two firms signed an agreement in January to release "Fortnite" in so-called PC rooms here within the second quarter.

Jun Ji-hye


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