Esports News

Krafton going after the competition again – PUBG/Free Fire Lawsuit

PUBG was one of the first battle royale games to become a major hit, while PUBG esports was the first BR to make it big on the scene. However, that hasn’t come without similar games following its format.

Battle royale games are now a huge genre and PUBG’s parent company from time to time attempts to cash in on bits of that. Often, that comes from suing the competition for copyright infringement. This time Krafton is suing FreeFire over copyright infringement. The PUBG Free Fire lawsuit is being leveled against the developers of the game, but also those who distribute it.

This is what’s happening with the lawsuit and why PUBG is going after Apple and Google too:

PUBG Free Fire Lawsuit

This week, it has come out that Krafton will be suing over allegations of copyright infringement in FreeFire. Krafton is the parent company behind PUBG. They are perusing the developer of Free Fire, Garena, along with both Apple and Google.

They company alleges that Fire Free infringes on PUBG’s copyright. Specifically, in the in-game structure, in-game items, equipment, and locations. Essentially everything about the game that replicates the Battle Royale style of PUBG. They’re not just pursuing only Garena though. They company also leverages their PUBG-Free Fire lawsuit against Google and Apple too.

This is because they have been distributing Free Fire in their stores. Krafton is attempting to sue for the revenue of the game. Krafton did previously request that Apple and Google stop distributing the game, which was ignored.

The lawsuit is broad and going after both Free Fire and Free Fire Max. While there are definitely some resemblances between the two games, it is debatable how much of this is down to the same genre. PUBG can’t exactly claim to have originated the format, with the idea of a Battle Royale being considerably older. PUBG itself initially made extensive use of pre-made assets that are shared between games. That hasn’t stopped Krafton from attempting to stop ‘copyright infringement’ though. This isn’t even their first lawsuit against other developers.

We will have to wait to see if this one bares any fruit.

PUBG’s litigious history

PUBG was originally released in 2016 and had a big impact on gaming culture. The mobile version of the game was equally impressive for the company. In the years since Krafton has also sued both Epic Games and NetEase for releasing similar games. Their allegations in these cases were largely that they were obviously inspired by the Battle Royale gameplay. This is despite that not being a concept that was original in PUBG.

The first one (Epic Games) was dropped, while the NetEase battle has developed into a series of mutual lawsuits in several jurisdictions.

The PUBG Free Fire lawsuit is probably going to take a while to reach a conclusion. What slightly complicates things is that PUG Mobile and Free Fire aren’t entirely unrelated games. Tencent is currently a part-owner of Krafton and is involved with its mobile games. They are also a part-owner in Garena’s parent company, meaning they likely profit from both games albeit at a bit of a distance.

The PUBG Free Fire lawsuit is wider-reaching than their past efforts, including distributors alongside the game developers themselves. However, their previous attempts to stomp out the competition through lawsuits weren’t exactly successful. All of the games they previously took action against are still for sale. It remains to be seen what impact the Free Fire lawsuit will have, but fans probably don’t have to worry about either leaving game stores anytime soon.

Jordan Ashley

[Staff Writer] Jordan Ashley lives in the middle of the UK with two dogs who routinely beat him on Mario Kart. He's a big fan of playing Wind Waker over and over again while ignoring all other tasks. His ability to play Fortnite is limited to hiding in bushes. Available on Twitter on here

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