This was eventually going to happen. Krafton, the studio behind Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds/PUBG, has filed a lawsuit against a number of companies for letting alleged copy-pasta clones of its game run amuck and earning money from its idea and concept.
Krafton has sent lawsuits against Apple, Google, YouTube, and Garena for Free Fire and Free Fire: Max for “extensively copying numerous aspects” of PUBG. These include the air drop feature, the game’s structure and play, the combination of weapons, armour, and unique objects, and the overall choice of colour schemes, materials, and textures.
Due to this, Garena has earned millions of dollars globally through sales and in-app purchases. This is probably the main reason why Krafton is peeved, to the point where the company also blames Apple and Google for profiting off of this while ignoring Krafton’s request to stop distributing the game.
Why is YouTube in Krafton’s crosshairs? That’s because the company hosted and refused to remove videos featuring Free Fire and Free Fire: Max gameplay. In addition, Krafton has filed a copyright infringement notice over a couple of PUBG-like films: Biubiubiu and Run Amuck. As of now, Krafton is seeking injunctions against the sale of both clones and recuperating from financial damages that were wrought initially by Garena.
Garena began selling Free Fire in Singapore in 2017 shortly after the launch of PUBG. This led to an initial complaint and settlement, but it didn’t include any licensing deal or permission to distribute the game. Despite that, a mobile version of the game appeared on both the Apple App Store and Google Play in that same year. Free Fire: Max came out the following year.
My takeaway from all this? We’ll probably see Riot Games go at it once more with Moonton over the League of Legends clone the latter has profited from. Look, clones of popular titles are nothing new, but to have near-identical copies being made? You’re just eventually asking for trouble, though the companies based in China usually get away with such blatant disregard for copyright laws.