A lawsuit against the creator of the hit online game Fortnite has been quietly dropped, according to Bloomberg.
In May, it was reported that PUBG Corp, the company behind the success of the PC title PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, had filed a lawsuit in South Korea against Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. The lawsuit alleged that Epic copied ideas from the game from PUBG Corp, most notably its “Battle Royale” structure, in which 100 players descend to an island and then fight until only one remains.
On Monday, however, PUBG Corp sent a takedown letter to Epic’s attorneys.
At the time of the action, legal experts questioned the merits of the lawsuit, which sought to protect ideas rather than specific source codes or assets – a difficult case to defend in the creative industries.
The situation was made more complex by the fact that PUBG Corp and Epic Games share a major investor, Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds uses Unreal Engine, a game development technology created and licensed by Epic Games. .
PUGB Corp has not released a statement regarding its decision, and it is not yet clear whether an out-of-court settlement has been reached. This decision surprised lawyers familiar with the gaming industry.
“Normally, if you’re ready to make a claim, you should stick with it at least until the defendant has presented their defense,” said Alex Tutty of the law firm Sheridans.
After speculating on the reasons for the lawsuit, gaming industry watchers are now wondering why it was dropped. One possibility is that the action has drawn derision within an industry that relies heavily on gender exploitation. Fortnite does not use any graphics or audio elements similar to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, its cartoonish appearance contrasting with the latter’s realistic and militarized visuals, so the combination appeared to be an attempt to circumscribe and monopolize the Battle Royale game style.
“Given the potential weaknesses of the complaint – at least under English law – and the amount of publicity the complaint received, either PUBG thought they had made their point or put off by the negative press that they has gathered either the realities of how potentially weak the claim has become apparent, ”Tutty said.
One item that probably hasn’t ended the lawsuit is money. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has sold over 50 million units since its launch last March and has made over $ 100 million in its first six months of sales. Fortnite earns $ 200 million per month from DLC sales.
“While the potentially large litigation costs normally put off or push most parties to settle, in the case of PUBG Corp and Epic, money won’t be the issue,” Tutty said.
“In any case, it seems unlikely that all the facts would be known to the public, especially if there had been a settlement, as this would most likely have contained an obligation of confidentiality for both parties.
“But it’s good that this case is now closed – at least in court. Any claim aimed at giving a party a monopoly on a game mode, especially one that had been used before, may have led to more speculative claims. Which is counterproductive for creativity – except perhaps the creativity of lawyers trying to construct unrealistic claims. “