On January 10, Krafton, Developer of PUBG: Battlegrounds and PUBG Mobile, filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, and Youtube over alleged PUBG Clone. Krafton has accused Apple and Google of allowing a mobile version of Battlegrounds, called Free Fire, and is developed by defendant Garena to be sold on their app stores.
The lawsuit alleges that shortly after Krafton launched Battlegrounds in 2017, Garena started selling a game in Singapore that copied Krafton’s game. Krafton’s predecessor, PUBG, and Garena settle the Singapore-related claims. The parties didn’t enter into a license agreement, nor did Krafton’s predecessor, PUBG authorize Defendants to sell or distribute games infringing its copyrights in the United States.
Also, in 2017 Apple and Google began selling the infringing mobile version, Free Fire, on their apps. The lawsuit alleges as well on Sept. 28, 2021, Garena released another app called Free Fire Max, which also copies Battleground. Free Fire Max is an entirely distinct app, that requires players to separately download from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Free Fire Max was intended to provide the same user experience as Free Fire and infringes several aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in their combination.
Allegedly, Free Fire, and Fire Max, extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds’ copyrighted unique game-opening “air drop” feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and overall choice of color scheme, texture, and choice.
Since the initial release, Garena has wrongfully authorized Apple and Google to distribute hundreds of millions of copies of the Free Fire app through their online “app stores” and Garena has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from its global sales of the infringing apps. It is alleged that Apple and Google have as well earned a substantial amount of revenue from their distribution of Free Fire, as both platforms retain a significant portion of what users spend within the infringing game.
Apple and Google have also collected highly valuable user and purchase data through requirements that their customers utilize their online payment systems. The level of infringements has increased since the recent launch and distribution of Free Fire Max.
Youtube, owned by Google, is also engaged in the infringement of Battlegrounds. Currently, it is hosting countless posts of Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay, many of which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and in some cases, more than a million times. These videos feature numerous elements from Free Fire and Free Fire Max that infringe Battlegrounds. Youtube has been hosting numerous posts containing a feature-length Chinese film that is nothing more than a blatantly infringing live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds. Youtube was asked to take down numerous posts of Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay that include the infringe Battlegrounds, the infringing feature-length film. To date, they failed to remove these posts.
Krafton asked Apple and Google to cease distributing and exploiting Free Fire and Free Fire Max on their platforms. To date, they continue to exploit Free Fire and Free Fire Max. Upon information and belief, Apple and Google fail to address legitimate claims of copyright infringement on their networks where they are indemnified by deep-pocketed co-infringers, like Garena.
Follow Gamactica Portals, for more information about this current lawsuit filed by PUBG!
Labor Board Says Activision Blizzard Illegally Threatened Staff
The United Sates National Labor Board says that Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind such games as Call of Duty and Overwatch, illegally threatened staff and enforced a social media policy that conflicts with workers’ rights, according to Bloomberg.
This yet another negative mark on the company, and comes following a complaint filed with the NLRB filed against Activision Blizzard that claims employees were being threated for discussing wages and working conditions via the company’s internal Slack channel.
If Activision Blizzard does not settle this issue, the company will receive a formal complaint from the National Labor Relations Board’s regional director in Los Angeles.
Take-Two Interactive Acquires Zynga
Take-Two Interactive has officially completed it’s acquisition of mobile studio Zynga, following shareholder approval from both parties being completed last week.
With the acquisition, Take-Two now owns all outstanding shares of the company for approximately $12.7 billion, in what that company is describing as a “pivotal step” in their plans to expand their mobile side of offerings..
“We are thrilled to complete our combination with Zynga,” Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick said in an official announcement. “As we bring together our exceptional talent, exciting pipelines of games, and industry-leading technologies and capabilities, we believe that we can take our portfolio to another level of creativity, innovation, and quality.
“We are eager to continue building an unparalleled portfolio of games that will reach broader markets and lead to continued growth for this next chapter of Zynga’s history” Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau said.
Tencent Releases Q1 Financial Results, Gaming Accounts for 32% of Revenue
Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent has released it’s Q1 financial results, which ended on March 31st, and show a reported total revenues of RMB 135.5 billion ($21.3 billion), which is in-line with the $20.2 billion reported back in Q1 of 2021.
Additionally, Games account for 32% of Tencent’s $21.3 billion in revenue.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, Tencent profits are down 52% from RMB 23.7 billion ($3.7 billion), operating profit was down 15% year-on-year to RMB 36.5 billion ($5.8 billion). Operating margin decreased from 32% in Q1 2021 to 27%.
In regards to Tencent’s gaming side of the business, the revenue for domestic titles (those in China) sow a slight dip of 1%, attributed to “direct and indirect effects” of measures implemented in China to protect minors from excessive gaming.
Titles such as League of Legends: Wild Rift and Fight of The Golden Spatula saw a rise in revenue, but were offset by the declines in Call of Duty Mobile, among other titles.
In regards to titles outside of the market in China, gaming revenue spiked 4% year-on-year to RMB 10.6 billion ($1.6 billion), largely due to the success of Valorant and Clash of Clans, but Tencent did report a decline in revenue from PUBG Mobile, explaining “as user spending normalized post-COVID.”
Domestic games accounted for 24% of the company’s total quarterly revenues, slightly down from 25% in Q1 2021, with international games accounting for 8%, a rise from 7%.
Read more, including comments from Chief strategy officer James Mitchell, over at GamesIndustry.biz.
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