'Fortnite' Is Being Sued By Parents For Being Too Addictive
A class-action lawsuit is being prepared in Canada on behalf of unhappy parents who claim that developer Epic Games has "knowingly" made the popular battle royale Fortnite a "very, very addictive" game. That this is one of the more mundane things to have happened so far this year says a lot about the state of the world in 2019.
"Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists - they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible," claims Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney with legal firm Calex Légal (via CBC). "They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth."
It's unclear exactly where Chartrand found the evidence to claim that Epic actually hired psychologists.
Chartrand went on to compare the lawsuit to the 2015 case in which the Quebec Superior Court ruled that tobacco companies weren't doing enough to warn customers about the dangers of the smoking, which ultimately led to a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.
The attorney reasons that Epic worked hard to make the game "addictive", and as such the developer has, in the eyes of the parents who filed the legal notice, failed to warn players of the risk of addiction.
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The filing comes from the parents of two minors, aged 10 and 15. If the class-action lawsuit is cleared, anyone who feels the same would also be able to join the complaint. "In our case, the two parents that came forward and told [us], 'If we knew it was so addictive it would ruin our child's life, we would never have let them start playing Fortnite or we would have monitored it a lot more closely," Chartrand said.
As has been pointed out by other publications, Fortnite has a T for Teen rating in Canada, meaning that the 10-year-old at least, shouldn't have been playing the game in the first place. It's unclear if Chartrand is aware of this.
Fortnite's Terms Of Service also include a class-action waiver provision, though Chartrand believes this wouldn't "stand up in court in Quebec "because the province's Consumer Protection Act requires companies to clearly disclose risks associated with products or services."
The legal challenge also reportedly references the recent decision made by the World Health Organization (WHO) to officially classify Gaming Disorder as a disease. It'll certainly be interesting to see how this classification is used in the case, and indeed, how far the case actually gets.
Featured Image Credit: Epic Games