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Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene calls for better IP protection in games

PUBG creator laments the lack of deterrents for copycats, says clones stifle innovation

The developer behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has urged the industry to implement stronger methods of IP protection going forwards.

Speaking to Radio 1's Gaming Show, as reported by BBC Newsbeat, Brendan Greene observed that other forms of entertainment make it easier for a creator to copyright their work, but in video games there is little to stop copycat developers releasing titles almost identical to your own.

"There's no intellectual protection in games," he said. "In movies and music, there is IP protection and you can really look after your work. In gaming that doesn't exist yet, and it's something that should be looked into.

"Some amazing games pass under the radar. Then someone else takes the idea, has a marketing budget, and suddenly has a popular game because they ripped off someone else's idea. I think it's something the industry needs to look into.

"You're protecting the work of artists basically. Games are art for a large part, and so I think it's important they're protected."

His comments about bigger marketing budgets could well refer to an incident earlier this year between Greene's employer Bluehole and Epic Games. The latter was accused of copying PUBG by adding a Battle Royale mode to its Early Access title Fortnite, and the Unreal Engine creator almost certainly has a larger budget than Korean developer Bluehole.

Fortnite is just one example. There has been a wave of far more blatant copycat titles released throughout the year, particularly in China.

The developer is quick to stress he's not determined to stop all games that are even vaguely similar to PUBG - on the contrary, he'd like to see other studios take his ideas forward and make something new.

"I want this genre of games to grow," he said. "For that to happen you need new and interesting spins on the game mode. If it's just copycats down the line, then the genre doesn't grow and people get bored."

There are some options when it comes to protecting games IP, which we attempted to summarise with Harbottle & Lewis' Kostya Lobov in an episode of The GamesIndustry.biz Podcast earlier this year. Lobov also explained how much of the Battle Royale formula Greene (or anyone) can actually claim ownership of.

Brendan Greene was selected as one of our People of the Year 2017 choices. We spoke to him about the incredible success of PUBG and the expectations for the new Xbox One version earlier this week.

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