The basic concept of the battle royale genre is simple. Up to 100 players descend on a map, scramble to collect resources and then fight until one survivor remains. But it seems PUBG Corp. isn't willing to commit to those stakes, because the company has dropped a copyright lawsuit it filed in South Korea against Epic Games over allegations that Fortnite: Battle Royale ripped off PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).
PUBG Corp. filed the lawsuit in May after Fortnite continued to rise in popularity. Epic Games has said that more than 125 million people are playing its take on the battle royale genre and previously committed to putting up $100 million to support the game's burgeoning esports scene. The lawsuit appeared to be a way for PUBG's parent company, Bluehole, to allege that Fortnite borrowed (or stole) many of its conventions.
It's not hard to spot the similarities. Both require people to fight to the death after crash-landing on an island where a fatal threat (toxic gas in PUBG and a storm in Fortnite) forces people to move to specific parts of the map or perish. The games also have their differences, mostly when it comes to tone, presentation and PUBG's lack of a building element. However, Fortnite's battle royale mode was developed after PUBG became a hit.
Bloomberg reported that PUBG Corp. withdrew its lawsuit earlier this week. It's not clear why--there hasn't been any news of a settlement. Perhaps the companies' ties have something to do with it. PUBG Corp.'s parent company and Epic Games have a common investor in Tencent, a Chinese gaming juggernaut, and PUBG was built using Epic's Unreal Engine. If companies are people, this was a very public family dispute.
The news of the lawsuit's withdrawal arrived shortly after PUBG released a new map called Sanhok, which is much smaller than the game's previous locales, inspiring a pace of play more similar to Fortnite than before. PUBG also introduced an Event Pass that offers in-game cosmetics to people who purchase it and complete specific challenges--something Epic Games already offered in Fortnite with the seasonal Battle Pass.
That's right. Weeks after a lawsuit claimed Fortnite was too similar to PUBG, PUBG started to become more like Fortnite. If that can help PUBG Corp. stem its losses and make even more money, well, maybe it's better to let bygones be bygones and keep things out of the court room. After all, what's a little idea-sharing between family?