PUBG developer Krafton has filed a lawsuit against mobile phone developer Garena, as well as Apple and Google, over two mobile games that the developer believes are copying his popular online shooter.
As in a. described Company action (and discovered by The edge) Krafton has accused Apple and Google of distributing an “apparently infringing mobile version of Battlegrounds” developed by Garena in their mobile app stores.
Krafton is currently seeking damages from Garena (and the other companies involved) for a “savage willful willful copyright infringement” related to the release of two games developed by Garena, Free Fire and Free Fire Max.
Garena describes Free Fire as “the ultimate survival shooter game for mobile devices” in which 50 players (or in groups of 4) compete in 10-minute rounds at island locations against the last surviving players.
Krafton argues in his lawsuit that both Free Fire and Free Fire Max “extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds,” including the game’s “proprietary unique ‘air drop’ feature” as well as a “combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations and the general range of color schemes, materials and textures “that become visible in the game.
While both Free Fire and Free Fire Max are available for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store, they include a number of additional in-app purchases. Krafton claims that Garena made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from selling the two games and that Apple and Google “similarly made a significant amount of revenue from distributing Free Fire” by hosting the games.”
According to the lawsuit, Krafton had previously contacted Garena about the games in question. “On or about December 21, 2021, Krafton requested that Garena immediately stop exploiting Free Fire and Free Fire Max,” the lawsuit read, which says Garena rejected the request.
The company also states in the lawsuit that it had similarly reached out to Apple and Google to distribute the two games on their respective platforms. The lawsuit alleges that in both cases Apple and Google failed to honor legitimate copyright claims on their networks and that their “selective enforcement of copyright laws” held both companies liable for “willful infringement”.
The lawsuit is also directed against YouTube, which is owned by Google, and states that it has asked the company to remove “numerous posts” containing Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay. The lawsuit also includes a live-action film entitled “Biubiubiu‘which Krafton says is “nothing more than an overtly hurtful live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds”. To date, the lawsuit claims YouTube failed to remove the posts.
While the current lawsuit may be the most recent to be filed in connection with PUBG, it isn’t the only recent court case that has made news related to the game. Last week members of a hacking group known for creating cheats for PUBG Mobile were sentenced to $ 10 million in damages by federal courts in the United States. After the legal victory, the developer found that he would reinvest the money in anti-cheat technology for the game.
For more information on PUBG, see this article which describes how to do it the developer’s recent decision to play the game for free on consoles and PC is “in no way a reaction” to similarly successful free-to-play shooters such as Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him Twitter.