PUBG Mobile studio sues Google & Apple over Garena Free Fire sales

Krafton / Garena

PUBG developers, Krafton, are suing Apple, Google (and YouTube), and Singaporean game publisher Garena over sales and content surrounding the Garena Free Fire mobile franchise, which has been dubbed a PUBG “clone.”

Garena Free Fire stormed into the mobile game landscape in 2019, when it became the most-downloaded mobile title in the entire world. While most popular in markets like Southeast Asia, India, and Brazil, Free Fire is available, and downloaded, globally.

Due to its popularity, Krafton and PUBG Santa Monica brought a lawsuit to U.S. federal court. It is alleged that Garena “copied” PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds. The company is implicated, as are Apple and Google, who are accused of “selling this blatantly infringing mobile version of Battlegrounds.”

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The lawsuit is 100 pages long and includes numerous screenshots aimed at demonstrating copyright infringement. Additionally, YouTube is named for distributing content surrounding Garena Free Fire.

PUBG makers sue Apple, Google, and Garena over Free Fire

pubg frying panKrafton
PUBG’s frying pan is an iconic melee weapon.

Among the infringements listed, Krafton referenced PUBG’s iconic frying pan – which is also used in Garena Free Fire. This is one of many details in the lawsuit, alongside mentions of the deployment plane, map design, and available clothing.

While Free Fire (and its various spin-offs and renames) are specified, Apple and Google come under fire for selling the games. Krafton note that Garena have earned “hundreds of millions of dollars from [their] global sales of the infringing apps” and consider both mobile app platforms complicit in those profits.

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garena free fire panGarena
Garena Free Fire even has frying pan skins.

YouTube is also named in the complaint, specifically for allowing video content of the “infringing” game franchise. In total, the lawsuit is lodged against six defendants: Apple, Google, YouTube, Sea Limited, MOCO Studios, and Garena Online.

At the moment, it is unclear where the case stands. Krafton and PUBG Santa Monica demanded a “jury trial” in their January 10 filing and updates have, thus far, been scarce.