As the Season 10 of Fortnite is coming to its end, a group of parents is bent on demonstrating that this popular and successful video game multiplayer creates an addiction similar to drugs and claim for financial compensation, claiming that neither they nor their teenage children were warned of these risks. This was manifest in a lawsuit against the creators of Fortnite, the studio Epic Games.
The court action was filed in October of 2019 before the Supreme Court of Quebec, in Canada, and her parents accuse Epic Games have designed intentionally a game that was “as addictive as cocaine”. Below we tell you everything you should know about the legal action against the creators of Fortnite, including the development of the process, the arguments of the plaintiffs and the company’s response.
In July 2019, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, a teenager of 16 years, pocketed no less than $3 million dollars in the final of the World Cup Provided, the highest award given in the framework of a competition of eSports. A sample of all the phenomenon that surrounds this game.
But even if you have not played it, it’s likely you’ve heard of Provided due to the dancing that has become popular not only in social networks, but also at music events or sports.
Available to play across several platforms and consoles, such as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, PC and Mac, it is estimated that it has over 3.5 million users worldwide.
According to a report by the consulting firm Nielsen, the gaming industry grew by 13% in 2018, mainly because Fortnite disrupted the status quo, to generate at least about $2,500 millions of dollars in revenue, the most of any title in the history.
How addictive as cocaine?
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two families who came separately to the law firm Calex Representative, with headquarters in Montreal, arguing that their children of 10 and 15 years developed a severe dependence of the game.
The action seeks that Epic Games Inc. and its subsidiary, canadian British, with headquarters in Columbia, they are found guilty of having developed in a premeditated way a video game as addictive as cocaine, without having warned about the risks.
“The addiction to the game Fortnite has real consequences in the lives of the players, many of whom have developed problems, such as not eating, not showering, and stop to socialize. We have opened rehabilitation centres specifically dedicated to addiction to Fortnite around the world, particularly in Québec and in Canada, to treat people for addiction,” according to the lawsuit.
Fortnite is rated “T” for teens, so it is recommended for people 13 years or more. However, plaintiffs argue that the company had to warn about the risks of dependency and addiction of the game.
One of their background is a judgment of the Superior Court of Quebec in 2015, which fined tobacco companies because they did not do enough to warn about the dangers of smoking and about the risks that their products had on the health of consumers.
“When they created Fortnite, for years and years, Epic Games hired psychologists. Really dug into the human brain and really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible. Knowingly put on the market a game very, very addictive which was also addressed to the youth,” said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, a lawyer of Calex Representative to the Canadian Global News.
Another of the arguments of the complaint is that last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared addiction to video games as a disease. “They used the same tactics that the creators of slot machines, or programs of a reward variable, (to ensure) the dependency of their users”, points out the demand.
Silence of Epic Games
However, the law firm argues that it Provided violated the Consumer Protection act of Québec, which requires companies to disclose clearly the risks associated with a product or service, which is not present in the conditions of use.
This is not the only judicial conflict of Epic Games. It is also facing another class action lawsuitfollowing a data breach that, in January of 2019, exposed personal information of millions of user accounts Provided.
How much could delay the failure?
The admissibility of the claim still must be resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada, but a final opinion could take decades. If you get to resolve in favor of the complainants, the company may have recourse to national courts.
For example, the class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies was filed in 1998, but only in 2015 the Superior Court of Québec finally ruled in favor of consumers. However, the affected companies, Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-Macdonald appealed to the Court of Appeals of Canada, as recently as last march upheld the decision of first instance.
We suggest that you be attentive. We will be informing about the last news about the lawsuit against the creators of Fortnite.
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