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PUBG Developer Suing Multiple Companies, Including Apple, Over Copycat Games
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PUBG Developer Suing Multiple Companies, Including Apple, Over Copycat Games

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PUBG developer Krafton has filed a lawsuit against mobile developer Garena, as well as both Apple and Google, over two mobile games the developer claims are copying its popular online shooter.

As described in a lawsuit filed by the company (and noted by The Verge), Krafton has accused Apple and Google of distributing a “blatantly infringing mobile version of Battlegrounds” developed by Garena on their mobile app stores.

Krafton is currently suing Garena (and the other companies involved) for what it describes as “rampant, intentional copyright infringement” surrounding the release of two Garena-developed games, Free Fire and Free Fire Max.

Garena describes Free Fire as “the ultimate survival shooter game available on mobile”, pitting 50 players against each other (or in squads of 4) in 10-minute rounds at island locations, including skydiving, staying in a safe zone and being the last remaining players.

Krafton argues in his lawsuit that both Free Fire and Free Fire Max “extensively copy many aspects of Battlegrounds,” including the game’s “copyrighted unique air drop feature,” as well as a “combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations and the overall choice of color schemes, materials and textures” clearly in the game.

While both Free Fire and Free Fire Max are available for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store, they do include some additional in-app purchases. Krafton claims that Garena made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from selling the two games and that by hosting them, Apple and Google “similarly earned a significant amount of revenue from their distribution of Free Fire.”.

Image comparisons from the Krafton lawsuit, showing the similar use of skillets by PUBG and Free Fire. Credit: Krafton, in documents re-uploaded by The Verge

According to the lawsuit, Krafton has previously contacted Garena about the contests in question. “On or about December 21, 2021, Krafton demanded that Garena immediately cease operating Free Fire and Free Fire Max,” the lawsuit reads, saying Garena declined the request.

The company also alleges in the lawsuit that it has similarly engaged with Apple and Google regarding the distribution of the two games on their respective platforms. The lawsuit alleges that in both cases, Apple and Google have failed to address legitimate copyright claims on their networks and that their “selective enforcement of copyright laws” holds both companies liable for “intentional infringement.”

The lawsuit also targets Google-owned YouTube, alleging that it has asked the company to remove “numerous posts” featuring Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay. The lawsuit also specifies a live-action movie titled “Biubiubiu,” which Krafton says is “nothing more than a blatantly infringing live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds.” To date, the lawsuit alleges, YouTube has not removed the posts.

While the current lawsuit may be the most recent filed around PUBG, it’s not the only recent lawsuit to make news about the game. Last week, members of a hacking group known for creating cheats for PUBG Mobile were ordered by federal courts in the US to pay $10 million in damages. After the legal victory, the developer noted that he would reinvest the money in anti-cheat technology for the game.

To learn more about PUBG, read this article explaining how the developer’s recent decision to make the game free-to-play on consoles and PC is “in no way a reaction” to similarly successful free-to-play shooters like Fortnite and Apex. legends.

Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.



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