Enlarge / Fortnite's new Battle Royale mode includes this explosive splash screen. (credit: Epic Games)

It's inevitable: every time a wildly successful video game comes along, imitators quickly follow in its footsteps. The tradition began with Pong and Pac-Man clones, and that practice has continued on PCs, consoles, and smartphones ever since. "Homages" at best and "blatant ripoffs" at worst have always been a part of the game industry.

I couldn't help but think of this after my first thrilling time playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in May of this year. You may have heard about this PC game: it's a somewhat familiar-looking military shooter, albeit with clever rules that gradually force dozens of players to a giant island's random "center" point. The result feels like a video game version of the Japanese film Battle Royale. The "early access" game is also setting records for concurrent player counts on Steam—which is particularly wild considering it costs $39.99, as opposed to popular free-to-play games like Dota 2.

Before the player counts climbed sky-high, however, I had already predicted a very PUBG future. "How long until other games rip this off?" I said to my online team via voice chat, shortly after I was sniped while foolishly running across one of PUBG's open fields.

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