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When Clones Sue Clones

Last July when Fortnite came out it was a coop shooter game with building elements, and it sucked. Then in September they scrapped the first game they made and announced Battle Royale, and the game was still chilling in the background. Then at the end of September they went F2P, and it was the beginning of a new era.

Fortnite took off, and by November I posted how I noticed a change in the air as Fortnite started to climb the charts and obtain Twitch viewership. Lots of PUBG-ites switched over.

Interestingly enough, Fortnite picked up and really started to take off when Bluehole originally called out Epic Games for copying their formula.

Well, now it's happening again.

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PUBG 1.0 Impressions: Still Potato or Not?

PUBG 1.0 launched this week. That means the game which sold millions and almost won game of the year 2017 is no longer in early access. Coinciding with the launch is a series of recent updates to the game which include a new desert map and some improvements to the engine.

PUBG in my eyes has always been a “good game,” but lacked the polish and refined gameplay, engine, and overall build quality to be great. PUBG is, as many often refer to it, potato quality.

Has 1.0 changed any of that?

I will confirm that the performance as it pertains to system resources has improved. I am achieving higher FPS and more stable FPS than I would previously get. I’m also think the game looks visually better. There’s a color filter change or something that makes the game look more colorful. I like that.

The jankiness is totally still there, though. Shooting mechanics, movement — event with the new “vaulting” or whatever — inventory management, vehicle driving, netcode, etc., are all still highly flawed and janky feeling.

Miramar, the new map, is pretty cool. I like it a lot better than the original map. I think the big open areas and building setups make for a lot more scary “am I going to be shot from anywhere?” moments vs. tons of house hiding.

Overall, PUBG is still a “good game” but hasn’t elevated itself much beyond that for me. I still have the same impressions I did pre-1.0, and I’ll likely continue to feel like Fortnite is making better headway in the Battle Royale genre.


525k Concurrent Users Isn’t Bad…

Fascinating what a bit of internet drama can do for a dying game. 

Fortnite is currently (as of 6:32pm PT on 10/10/2017) the 8th game in terms of Twitch viewership. PUBG currently scoring 77,576 watching and Fortnite 18,890. 

Twitch viewers are hardly a metric to go by since they're dominated by brands in and of themselves -- brands of the streamers playing those games.

Fortnite announced that this past Sunday they achieved 525,000 concurrent users. That's really not bad at all for a game accused of being a copy cat and future thief.

PUBG still remains relatively unreachable. Just looking at these Steam numbers, PUBG secures a huge lead on the concurrent players.

Factor in that PUBG numbers are Steam only (PC) and Fortnite is on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and you see PUBG has nothing to fear. Compound that with F2P vs. Paid entry, and it's a landslide in PUBG's favor. 

Still, 525k concurrent users. 

Epic has also announced improvements to the Unreal engine for games like these 100 player Battle Royale games -- all of them. A bit of a passive aggresive wink at Bluehole, who previously claimed Epic would keep the tech to themselves and even steal from PUBG's super secret engine tweaks.

I'm still blown away by the numbers. Neither of these games are THAT good.


Bluehole vs. Epic: Unprofessional & Paranoid

I refrained from commenting (Twitter snark doesn't count) on this issue because I find the entire thing asinine, but since it continues and I needed a topic for today, let's do this.

Bluehole (PUBG Devs) released a press release -- yes, I got an actual email to my press email account -- stating the following:

“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” said Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc. “After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”

“Other companies will, of course, enter the marketplace, but I would just hope they put their own spin on the game mode and not just make a carbon copy!”

Couple of things.

Willy Wonka Unique Idea Meme

I find it a little ridiculous to publish a press release calling someone out for copying your game (especially when your game is a Battle Royale clone itself).

This is the video game industry. Just spend 10 minutes looking at the RPG, Shooter, FPS, and RTS genres. Seriously.

What was PUBG's "own spin" that made it more unique? Does Fortnite's building mechanic not count?

Now we have an interview with PC Gamer that C.H. Kim did with PC Gamer where Bluehole takes a different approach.

C.H. Kim: So the first thing that I’d like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself. There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5’s battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue, and I think it’s great that there’s more competition and everyone should be able to create their own battle royale game mode, and it’s not about the idea itself, it’s about Epic Games, and that wasn’t really clear [in the press release].

Willy Wonka Smarmy Grin

Uhh huhhh, sure. It gets better, too. 

“We’re going to get some technical support [from Epic], and we’re going to work with them to make sure Unreal Engine better supports battle royale gameplay which requires 100 people in one session, and now we’re starting to have concerns that they’re going to develop new features or improve something in the engine to support that battle royale gameplay, and then use it for their own game mode.” […]

“We could be afraid when we make new features in the engine by modifying it internally, that is not already available and public, that feature could be leaked, or other things could happen.”

Do you REALLY believe that Epic, one of the biggest engine licencors in the entire business, would do that? REALLY?

Epic has been licensing their engine for so long, making plenty of  titles that compete with their customers, and I have never heard of any reports of them ever saying, "Ohhh look they made tweaks to the engine let's leak it to the world or use it to make our game better just to put them under."

Why would Epic sabotage their core business model to act in any way that would violate their contractual agreement with a company licensing their engine?

I'm not a lawyer, but if I were one at Epic I would be chomping at the bit right now. This feels dangerously close to slander for overtly implying that Epic would use its license agreements to ruin other companies. Again, it's damaging to Epic's core business model.

Bluehole is paranoid, delusional, and behaving so unprofessional. They're digging themselves into a hole and opening the door for issues that would have never existed. Their fans could have done all the defending for them.

PUBG is a fantastic game. They did a great job. It has quality issues, and a whole lot of jank, but the game is good.

Fortnite (PvE) is absolute crap. I found it lacking in fun, and full of tedium. Their Battle Royale PvP mode is much more fun, and they openly admit to be inspired by PUBG. I played it, and found it very much a Battle Royale / PUBG clone. Will it in any way pull from PUBG? I can't see any reason why.


Fortnite: Battle Royale

Woah, okay, so this happened.

No shock to you guys, I was not a fan of Fortnite. I was suuuuper hyped for it to come out, and then extremely bothered by the awful execution and delivery.

I might actually have a reason to... install Fornite again?

Graev and an email this afternoon containing information about a new Fortnite Battle Royale mode. Here's what they said:


"We made a PvP mode for Fortnite. We love Battle Royale games like PUBG and thought Fortnite would make a great foundation for our own version. A few months ago Epic’s Unreal Tournament team began experimenting with the mode while the original Fortnite team kept updating the core game. The new Battle Royale mode was so much fun we decided to share it with everyone to get feedback. To maintain game balance we kept the PvP mode completely separate from the PvE mode."

Fornite Battle Royale is currently available on the public test server, and will release to the public September 26, 2017.

I'm wondering if this will scratch an itch for a game that's less camping-intense and action-deprived than PUBG. Building, breaking things, and zany combat might be exactly what I need for a Battle Royale. This appears way less twitch and 'gotta get the one-shot headshot' than PUBG, which means I might suck less than normal.

I am absolutely going to try this out and get back to you guys.