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 like Valve’s strenuous approval process (lol) or trademark infringement. The names I listed off above are real, and that’s not even all of them. PC Gamer found others, like 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. What I found is, 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 like “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.
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