- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has filed a 155-page lawsuit against NetEase, the creator of mobile games Knives Out and Rules of Survival.
- PUBG has argued that the mobile games have copied crucial game elements including the pre-play area and Winner Winner statue, causing consumer confusion and irreparable monetary damage to the company.
- Earlier, PUBG had asked Apple to remove the games from the App Store citing copyright infringement but NetEase had denied any infringement.
Many said they saw it coming. Hugely popular online shooter game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has seen a boatload of imitators on mobile platforms. But it was always a mystery if the original game’s creator would ever take strong action against the copycat. That changes now. PUBG has gone out and filed complaints against the mobile games “Knives Out” and “Rules of Survival.”
PUBG has argued that the mobile games have brazenly copied the overall look and feel of the game, revealed a report by Torrent Freak. Moreover, the creators of the popular game have also alleged that certain sections of the game have been ripped without the imitator even pretending to make it look different.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released last year and had become a sensational hit with the global gaming community. A month into the release, the beta copy sold over a million copies. The number has blown up to 28 million copies for PC alone.
While the success of the game made the company millions of dollars, the creators have strong reasons to believe it could have been so much more in the absence of the no-holds-barred copying.
Only this week, PUBG has completed the formalities of a lawsuit against NetEase. NetEase is the company that has created the mobile games Knives Out and Rules of Survival. The accusations against NetEase include unfair competition, copyright infringement, and trade dress infringement.
PUBG has filed the complaint in the federal court of California. In the complaint, PUBG has alleged that the two mobile games were released ahead of PUBG’s own mobile app to gain market share instantly. PUBG added that in the process, the mobile games copied many vital aspects of the game.
In the 155-page long complaint, PUBG has included a long list of elements that it believes were copied by the competition. Some of its key copyrighted elements include landscapes, weapons, vehicles, buildings, clothing, certain landscapes, and a strikingly similar gameplay landscape.
“There is sufficient information to believe the defendants have copied expressive depictions of PUBG’s pre-play area. Clearly, other imagery and depictions could have been used to evoke the same experience of gameplay,” reads a part of the complaint filed by PUBG.
The iconic “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” statue of PUBG have also featured in the allegedly copied game. Moreover, both the games have also made passing references at the phrase in separate advertisements.
PUBG believes that the defendant has used phrases like the aforementioned and some other elements in an explicit attempt to make the public believe that the games were developed by the original creator of the PUBG PC game.
Accordingly to PUBG, NetEase tried to bank on consumer confusion to make people believe that Rules of Survival has come from the house of PUBG. The company substantiates the claim by indicating how both the games have been marketed as “PUBG” mobile, in an attempt to create deliberate confusion.
Earlier, PUBG had reached out to Apple in a plea to take down the copyright infringing games listed in the iOS store. However, NetEase had denied the allegations back then. Resultantly, the company had to file a lawsuit. Besides redress for monetary damages, PUBG wants the games to be taken down immediately to protect PUBG from further harm.
The suit highlights that PUBG has suffered irreparable damage because of the conduct of NetEase and it shall continue to suffer harm unless both the infringing game are taken down.
PUBG has particularly asked the court to “take out each and every version of Knives Out and Rules of Survival”, and other games that are similarly infringing. PUBG also wants NetEase to permanently stop distribution, development, and support for both the games.