Crappy Games Keep Trying To Steal PUBG's Name On Steam

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds? That's old hat. These days, I'm all about, um, *checks list* PlayerUnkn1wn: Friendly Fire, PlayerUnkn4wn: Zombie and Battle Pixel's Survival.

Over the past few months, a handful of games with names suspiciously similar to PUBG have made it onto Steam, seemingly undeterred by silly things such as Valve's strenuous approval process (lol) or trademark infringement. The names I listed off above are real, and that isn't even all of them. PC Gamer found others, such as Gamers Unknown Survival. Each and every one, though, is a blatant, hacked-together rip-off of either PUBG or DayZ.

Now, here's where it gets extra dodgy. I decided to do some searching on Steam with these games' names in mind. I tried shorter forms of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds", as well as common misspellings. I found that, in many cases, these Original Content, Do Not Steal games pop up before PUBG, if PUBG even appears at all. Here, for example, is what happened when I searched "player unknown":

That one is almost understandable, if a fairly damning appraisal of Steam's search engine. But then I searched "pubg", and all I got was this:

Then I tried "player unknown battleground", and oh hey, look who popped up again:

But wait, how did Battle Pixel's Survival get on there when it contains none of the words in the original game's title? As far as I can tell, it managed this feat of search-engine hacking by cramming its description full of phrases such as "multiplayer unknown battle ground". I looked into the developer's background, and of the five games it's released, four - Battle Pixel's Survival, Two Draw, Pixel Day: Gun Z and Pixel Z: Gun Day (yes, seriously) - are misleading copycat games.

Most people, I imagine, won't fall for this Fisher-Price's My First Highway Robbery-level scam, but the fact that it's this easy is not a great look for Steam. Anyway, now you know, and knowledge is power when it comes to games named after a player nobody knows, but who, in reality, everyone knows now.


    I would say it is damning of the name of the game rather than steam search. Of course a search of player unknown is going to bring completely different results than playerunknown. Steam could get a google style "did you really mean X". But then google has been refining things for many years and that is only a comparatively new addition. Basically ever since google noticed that people can no longer spell, nor apparently check what they are typing.

    Even though it would negatively impact me, I have to say it seems the $100 submission fee is way too low.

      Well really... if they aren't willing to pay people to properly check this stuff before letting it through, maybe $100 is indeed too low

    conversely, if you're and indie game and you're not on the front page of a search in Steam then your game probably isn't going to sell. So I don't totally blame them for their attempts at SEO

      so, if i dont earn enough money, do you totally blame me for shoplifting the things i cant afford?

        shoplifting isn't piracy. piracy isn't stealing. SEO is neither.

        also, if you were dead poor and shoplifted food or clothing because you couldn't afford it. Then no, I won't blame you.

    I looked into the developer's background, and of the five games it's released, four - Battle Pixel's Survival, Two Draw, Pixel Day: Gun Z and Pixel Z: Gun Day (yes, seriously) - are misleading copycat games.
    They're not just copycat games, at least 2 of them are straight up asset flips, of the same asset pack (Unit Z).

    This is yet another example of why Steam needs to have humans checking each game being submitted and not just bots.

    It's standard practice these days that anything popular will have umpteen dozen shovelware games trying to catch people off guard with similar names and SEO tricks. It was a thing when the mobile market started out and every man and his dog released a flashlight app and I'm pretty sure it was happening even before that on things like Newgrounds and other Flash game sites.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now