I think the important takeaway here is that Tim (as intelligent a person as he is) is off the mark with any swipes taken at PUBG. It is subjectively undeniable that the foundation of the Fortnite design pivot was inspired by the success and/or design of PUBG. The core mechanics of PUBG itself can be traced back to countless gaming experiences, even within its own genre to the @Survivor_GameZ series of events.
US Law (to the best of my non-lawyer knowledge) is fairly clear in Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act that “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work”. (Lawyers, feel free to tell me if I’m wrong).
Note: It seems my anecdotal knowledge comes primarily from the 70s and 80s, wherein Tetris Holding v Xio Interactive may flip the script – who knows.
At this point in the genre especially, no one person or group can claim ownership or moral genesis of the pillars of Battle Royale, nor should they. I’ve gone through a lot of self doubt and introspection on if I made a monumentally bad decision to not pursue continued development of the Survivor GameZ and instead focus on DayZ. However the reality I’ve come to understand (and personally Tim/Epic should as well in this case) is that inspiration, imitation, and iteration all go hand in hand in our industry.
The reality of the situation is each new voice elevates and improves on an idea, moving it forward. I could never have brought the success and innovation to what we now call the BR genre that Brendan did, because the products of H1Z1 KoTK and PUBG were his unique passions and innovations. At no point could I have ever imagined back in early 2012 when we started working on “DayZ Hunger GameZ” that almost a decade later we would have an entire genre, with experiences like Apex Legends, PUBG, Fortnite, and so many more.
The result of all these years of inspiration, and even imitation has enriched the language we as game developers speak – and if the team over at PUBG was inspired by something that Tim thinks Fortnite may have been the genesis of – well I can’t wait to see what the years ahead spells for those mechanics.