It looks like Epic Game’s announcement about a free version of Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode has ruffled some feathers with the team behind PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds. Bluehole, Inc., released a statement about the announcement and will “contemplate further action”.
What is Bluehole, Inc. saying Fortnite Did?
In the release, Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc., says “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known”. Furthermore, he says, “We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.” So the crux of the issue seems to be that Bluehole feels that Epic is copying their game, and using the PUBG name in their advertising.
How similar are Fortnite and PUBG?
While I haven’t played either game, they do look different enough to have their own audiences. PUBG is more realistic and focuses more on the player interactions, while Fortnite tosses in the building aspect. Both have the same basic idea though; players parachute into an ever-shrinking arena and try to be the last one standing. From what I have seen, that is where the similarities stop though. The art styles are completely different, and Fortnite has a more casual look and feel to it. It also has more of an arcade feel to it than PUBG. While I can see where PUBG is coming from, I think the argument falls a bit flat.
What about the advertising claims?
One of the more serious claims in the press release is that “Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press”. In the Epic’s announcement about Battle Royale becoming free for all players, they do not once mention PUBG. The only time I could find any reference to PUBG by Epic Games was in the initial press release for Battle Royale. In the release, they stated, “we love Battle Royale games like PUBG…”, which is showing that PUBG is the biggest game in the genre. They also mention PUBG (and H1Z1) in the accompanying announcement video.
To me, two mentions (using almost the exact same wording) is not enough for Bluehole to get worked up about. When looked at in context, Epic is using the PUBG name to describe the genre they are jumping into and not saying that this is better than PUBG. In fact, the comments indicate the Fortnite team’s love for those type of games and PUBG in general.
Why is Bluehole doing this?
I find it curious that Bluehole waited until Epic announced that the Battle Royale mode for Fortnite would be free-to-play. This mode was first announced on September 12, 2017, more than a week before the free-to-play announcement came out. Bluehole didn’t seem to have any issues when it was assumed that players would have to pay for access to this mode, even though the original announcement is where Epic specifically mentioned PUBG. I think Bluehole is scared that Fortnight will take some of their players away from PUBG. Being free-to-play, and on two major consoles (Xbox One and PS4), must really worry the executives at Bluehole. PUBG was supposed to be the main battle royale game on the Xbox, but Fortnite will beat it to the console. It also seems sort of petty for Bluehole to go this route. They are the market leader and instead of contemplating further action they should be looking at their game and seeing how it can be improved.
What do you think? Is Bluehole, Inc., making too big of a deal about this? Will Fortnite steal a lot of PUBG’s marketshare? Sound off in the comments.