The battle royale genre has been getting a lot of attention with the recent mobile releases of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite. And with that popularity has come a slew of copycats and clones trying to beat their inspiration to the punch. So, of course, it was only a matter of time before lawsuits started flying, and apparently, Bluehole Studio has had enough as they have filed a suit against NetEase for copyright and trademark violations.
The suit was filed in Northern California's US District Court by PUBG Corp, "a wholly owned subsidiary of Korean game publisher Bluehole," and the 155-page complaint lists a lengthy summary of elements that explain why NetEase's mobile-only battle royale games Rules of Survival and Knives Out supposedly infringed on their property. You can read through the suit here for further details.
Anyone can see that both of NetEase's games lift the basic premise and look from PUBG, but the question remains, are the supposed violations enough of an issue for the court to side on behalf of Bluehole? One thing to keep in mind through all of this is that Rules of Survival and Knives Out were both released before PUBG mobile was officially available. This was probably a move on NetEase's part to beat PUBG to the mobile market, though that will be difficult to prove. And it's not like Bluehole owns the concept of the battle royale genre. It has been used in the past, and those implementations predate PUBG by more than a few years.
In my opinion, this lawsuit will be difficult to win since many of the core concepts found in PUBG have existed for some time in one form or another. But as with anything that pertains to copyright law, this is going to be a tough call for the court that could easily go either way. So I suppose we will just have to wait and see how all of this plays out.