Following the announcement of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Nations Cup earlier today, some fans criticized PUBG Corporation for seeming to plagiarize the designs used to promote the upcoming Overwatch World Cup.
In a highly upvoted thread on r/CompetitiveOverwatch, Overwatch enthusiasts expressed their disbelief at what they characterized as a blatant ripoff. “Guess we’re doing something right at least,” joked one commenter.
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Others jumped to the defense of the PUBG team, pointing out the long history of questionable copying in the video game industry. “There are only so many original ideas out there, and borrowing good ideas from others to make your product better isn’t bad,” wrote one Redditor. “I mean, where the hell do you think the idea for OW came from anyway?”
While the promotional image for the Nations Cup clearly references some of the same motifs as the Overwatch World Cup materials—the blue skies, the metallic structure, the gun-toting marble sculptures—none of these are things that can exactly be copyrighted by a video game developer. It’s true, however, that the format of the Nations Cup is remarkably similar to that of the Overwatch World Cup, with both events pitting top players from multiple countries against each other in a battle for international supremacy.
With no evidence of direct plagiarism available at the moment, it’s unlikely that Blizzard Entertainment will take action against PUBG Corporation as a result of these similarities. And in light of the rapid growth of the Overwatch League over the last two years, it’s understandable that the designers at PUBG Corporation may have taken some cues from the Overwatch team.