Publisher and Developer Krafton (PUBG Mobile, PUBG: Battlegrounds) sued against Sea Limited and its subsidiary Garena due to the excessive resemblance of their Battle Royale Free Fire to their own.
According to Krafton, Free Fire and Free Fire MAX openly copy “many elements” Battlegrounds, including proprietary airdrops, structure, gameplay, an arsenal of weapons, and even a color palette.
On December 21, 2021, Krafton reportedly demanded from:
- garena “stop immediately” with Free Fire and Free Fire MAX;
- Apple and Google will stop distributing these games in their digital stores;
- YouTube (owned by Google) to remove the Free Fire and Free Fire MAX gameplay videos (and the Biubiubiu movie, which also resembles PUBG) from the site.
Krafton failed to achieve any of the above goals and therefore decided to sue not only Sea Limited but also Apple, Google and YouTube for distributing copyright infringing games and videos on their platforms.
Krafton claims Free Fire brought Garena “Hundreds of millions of dollars”: In 2021, user spend was $1.1 billion and the game earned $414 million. PUBG Mobile still leads ($2.9 billion and $639 million) but Free Fire is catching up.
Apple and Google have yet to comment on the situation, Sea Limited spokesman Jason Golz said in a statement to the portal The edge called Krafton’s claims unfounded.
Free Fire was released in August 2017 and Free Fire MAX was released in September 2021. Both games are available for Android and iOS. Last summer, downloads of the Android version of shareware Mobile Battle Royale surpassed 1 billion.