Microsoft says it is "investigating" how an ad campaign wound up using a creative concept that was similar to an image posted to Reddit.
An ad for the Xbox One game "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds" featured art that looked almost identical to the work on Reddit, where the creator posted it to a discussion board devoted to the game.
On Wednesday, Reddit users pointed out the similarity between the ad and the post. Microsoft removed the ad, which it had circulated on Twitter.
"We have removed this content and are investigating," a Microsoft spokesperson said by email.
Both the Reddit post and the Xbox ad feature a gaming console with a battlefield on top, and a lone soldier peeking out above the tall growth. It was not immediately clear if the ad was created internally or by one of Xbox's agencies.
Microsoft did not answer further questions beyond its e-mail response.
The Reddit user, who claimed credit for the creative work and goes by the name Macsterr, seemed adamant that the concept was his—not a case of shared inspiration.
The original post had become popular enough to reach marketing teams at Xbox, Macsterr commented on Reddit.
"My original post has 63,000 views," Macsterr wrote in a Reddit comment to another person asking if it were possible Xbox just had the same idea. "So, yeah, it's impossible."
Reddit is a site where users vote posts to higher visibility or downvote them to obscurity. There are thousands of communities devoted to niche and mainstream topics, and the original Xbox post was submitted to a fan page for the "Battlegrounds" game.
It's not the first time a company has been accused of borrowing ideas from Reddit posts. In 2016, Axe took an idea from a subreddit about "shower thoughts," where people post weird and random ideas.
Axe shot a commercial about people having shower thoughts, and one of them was right from the subreddit.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect Microsoft's comments on the ad.