PUBG is losing to Fortnite: Battle Royale. Although it was the first to popularize the “Battle Royale” genre, PUBG has in many ways fallen out of the spotlight, for several good reasons: There are a few things that Fortnite: Battle Royale seems to do a whole lot better.
These differences are quite numerous and hugely significant: For one, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is a paid AAA multiplayer-only title, while Fortnite: Battle Royale is completely free. Fortnite’s cartoonish artstyle also allows for a greater variety of content and additions without them feeling out of place; Putting Thanos in PUBG would have felt a whole lot stranger than putting him in Fortnite. Not to mention, PUBG handles its micro-transaction cosmetics through the dreaded lootbox system, something that gamers everywhere have learned to hate. Fortnite features a digital shop that puts items up for direct purchase, and also boasts a seasonal premium package that will net players exclusive items plus a grand increase of in-game currency received per match for players who want their cosmetic progressions to feel more natural. Fortnite’s cartoonish feel allows it to appeal to a wider range of audiences, and its build mechanic, high-tech options, and lighter gravity make gunplay more fast-paced and dynamic.
So how does PUBG respond to Fortnite? By suing them.
PUBG had issued statements a while back stating that it had “growing concerns” about the similarities between Fortnite and PUBG, and has filed a copyright claim with Seoul Central District Court against Epic Games Korea. PUBG’s parent company, Bluehole, has stated that the main problem with Fortnite is that Epic Games, the company behind it, also owns Unreal Engine 4. This is the engine that both PUBG and Fortnite: Battle Royale run on, so Epic Games profits from the success of both games, and will continue to profit more and more off of PUBG even if they win the lawsuit and push their game back on top.
It’s worth noting that Fortnite didn’t start as a Battle Royale title. Rather, the game began as a cartoonish blend between a Minecraft – like survival building game and a tower defense game in which a team of players would work together to build a tower and defend it against waves of undead at nightfall.
Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode was created to capitalize on the success of PUBG, which had quickly risen to popularity at the time. And as the market currently shows, that mode has proved massively successful; so successful that Fortnite has moved its entire development team over to creating more content for the Battle Royale mode, with the game’s original Co-Op mode receiving no further updates.
And while many sources and content creators have been quick to accuse PUBG of suing Fortnite in an attempt to “copyright” the entire Battle Royale genre, an anonymous PUBG spokesperson stepped forward in an attempt to dispel this misunderstanding:
“We just want to emphasize this is only a problem because Epic Games is the company that makes the engine we use and we pay a large number of royalties to them. And we had this business relationship and we had trust that we would be getting continued support, and we were looking forward to working more closely with them to get technical support, maybe develop new features.”
The spokesperson continues to mention that the real issue was when Fortnite directly named PUBG in promotional material for their game, sayig something along the lines of “It’s just like PUBG” to promote Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode.
“…our name was used to officially promote their game without our knowledge. There was no discussion.
This is certainly a much more legitimate grounds to file a copyright claim than PUBG attempting to “copyright” a game genre, even if PUBG are clearly executing on the lawsuit only because Fortnite has stolen the spotlight. However, it’s unlikely that fans or developers will hear anything from the lawsuit for a long time to come, as these larger suits typically take years to resolve. Until then, only time will tell whether Fortnite can hold onto its place as king of the “hill” that is popular gaming, or if yet another new title will emerge and steal away that coveted spotlight.