Any time a new game gains popularity, it is guaranteed that clones are not far behind. This is even more true when a game breaks into a new gameplay method. The creator of the massively popular Battle Royale game Battlegrounds, Brendan Greene, better known as PlayerUnknown, has learned this the hard way, as the number of clones of the title, also known as PubG, has been intense.
Speaking with BBC, Greene lamented the state of copyright law, which provides little to no protection for gameplay. He said,
There's no intellectual property protection in games. 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.
The problem with this belief is that it's not quite the reality of the law. PubG brought the Battle Royale genre to the mainstream, and other games came around behind it. Other games can't use the game's characters, worlds, music or other in-game elements, but can create other Battle Royale games. In films, Spider-Man created the modern superhero movie style, but other films, from Marvel, DC and others, have created films that follow a similar cinematic style, but no one else can create a superhero film with the characters, worlds, music, etc. Can you imagine if only one artist could perform hip-hop, or sing a love song? We'd have a total of 8 songs today.
In the gaming world, this scenario has existed for years. Take a look at the multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, genre. DotA started the genre with a map editing tool for Warcraft III, and subsequently released a sequel through Valve. Today, the game is still one of the top games in the genre, even with competition from League of Legends and Heroes of The Storm from Blizzard itself.
If it weren't for Blizzard's willingness to allow openness in their environment, the genre may have never existed. In fact, PlayerUnknown himself started out by modifying existing games. If a developer could lock out all competition to a game genre, we would not have some of the most popular modern gameplay styles, and definitely not some of the current favorites.
If a game is the best of the genre, it will certainly stand out against its competition. Take, for example, Battlegrounds, which was not the first game in its genre; it simply popularized it. Previously, titles like H1Z1 and ARC had entered the Battle Royale, leaving an opening for a better title. With competition for Battlegrounds, Greene has motivation to continue to make the game better, and make it stand out in a field. A good developer should not prevent competition, it should encourage it.