In a move that will surely affect the mobile gaming industry, PUBG developer Krafton Inc has filed a lawsuit in the Central District Court of California, alleging that Garena Online’s Free Fire and Free Fire Max games copy several copyrighted aspects of PUBG.
Krafton Inc has long been in discussions with Garena about the similarities between their games, but no agreement could be reached. “After exhausting all other means to protect our intellectual property and after Free Fire continued to infringe on our copyright, we had no choice but to file this lawsuit,” said a Krafton representative.
Apple, Google, and YouTube have all been named in the lawsuit. Apple and Google distribute Free Fire through their respective app stores, where they make millions of dollars in revenue from Free Fire sales. YouTube is also named because Garena Online has released several promotional videos for Free Fire on the platform.
Garena Online is a mobile gaming company based in Singapore. Free Fire was released on iOS and Android devices earlier this year, where it became so popular (Why is Free Fire so popular?). The game has since been downloaded more than 100 million times across both platforms and has become one of the most played games on those operating systems.
Garena claims that they developed their own version of PUBG without infringing any copyright or intellectual property rights relating to PUBG’s code, mechanics, artwork, or other features. They also claim that they will continue production of Free Fire unabated despite being sued by Krafton Inc for infringement. Garena further added that “We have not infringed upon any copyrights owned by PUBG Corporation and do not believe that we have done so. Our game was built from the ground up based on our ideas, after spending hundreds of hours playing PUBG.” Garena also responded to the suit by stating that they are confident that their games do not infringe on any copyrights.
This lawsuit is sure to be a landmark case in the world of mobile gaming, and its outcome could set a precedent for future cases involving allegations of copyright infringement in this industry. It will also be interesting to see how Apple and Google respond, as they are both named defendants in the suit.