Remember Knives Out? You probably don’t, and I wouldn’t blame you. It was NetEase’s poorly optimized, mobile-port-to-PC free-to-play battle royale game I tried out last month and shockingly won my only match. That’s probably because it was full of bots, but you can’t take that victory away from me! I uninstalled it right after winning, clearly because I wanted to preserve my perfect record, and not because it played like ass.
In any case, its, shall we say, “similarity,” to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has gotten people to notice — specifically PUBG Corp. The company has filed a lawsuit against NetEase for copyright infringement, contesting that Knives Out and another free-to-play mobile title, Rules of Survival, “copied specific elements as well as the overall look and feel from PUBG, in order to confuse the public” and “were released before PUBG’s own mobile application to gain market share,” according to TorrentFreak.
TorrentFreak also obtained a pdf of PUBG’s complaint. In it, PUBG Corp. alleges that NetEase “intended to create consumer confusion as to the source of ROS and intended to cause consumers to believe, incorrectly, that ROS had been developed by PUBG.” It makes a similar claim in regards to Knives Out, using side-by-side screenshots of the two games alongside PUBG to prove their points.
It’s also probably the first time the phrase “butt armor” has ever appeared in a legal document:
PUBG Corp also accuses NetEase of “stealing” its “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” phrase, as a way to further confuse the public into believing its games were made by the same creator as PUBG:
As a matter of further confusion, PUBG cites several YouTube videos of NetEase’s games whose creators use “PUBG” in their titles — a smart move for them, considering the SEO ramifications, but an act that PUBG contends only further confuses the public.
After attempting to resolve the matter directly with NetEase — which denies any act of copyright infringement — PUBG Corp. has asked the courts to force NetEase “to remove each and every version of the games Rules of Survival, Knives Out, and similarly infringing games, from distribution and to cease developing and supporting those games” and to award PUBG Corp. damages and legal fees. PUBG Corp. requests these matters be resolved in a trial by jury.
Seems like a pretty simple case of copyright infringement, and the kind that PUBG originally railed against back in September, (as opposed to Fortnite: Battle Royale, which Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Green now approves of), right? Sadly, since this is a Chinese corporation that’s behind the copycat games, they probably won’t face any consequences. That’s generally how these sort of things go, but maybe PUBG Corp. is big enough, and has enough money, that it will be able to buck the system in this case.