Epic Games faces class-action lawsuit for "knowingly" making Fortnite too addictive

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Calex Légal, a law firm in Montreal, Canada, is preparing a class-action lawsuit against Epic Games. CBC reports that the legal notice was filed on behalf of the parents of two children, aged 10 and 15, and claims that playing Fortnite causes the brain to release dopamine in the same way as taking drugs such as cocaine, resulting in chemical addiction.

It’s also claimed that Epic Games did all it could to make Fortnite as addictive as possible. "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," said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, a Calex Légal attorney. "They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth."

The firm said it was approached by the minors’ parents, who said their children were addicted to the game. Chartrand is asking other parents who believe their children may be addicted to Fortnite to come forward.

Much of the case is based on a 2015 class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies, in which the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the firms didn’t do enough to warn customers about the dangers of smoking. The new suit claims Epic Games knew Fortnite was dangerously addictive but failed to warn players of the risks.

"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 added.

The case also notes the World Health Organization’s recent decision to add ‘Gaming Disorder’ to its International Classification of Diseases.

Fortnite’s Terms of Service state that users must surrender their right to sue the company and instead go through individual arbitration, but Chartrand believes the ToS "don'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."

There’s no word yet on how much the law firm is seeking in damages from Epic Games, but expect it to be a large figure.

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Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
Would the 'addiction' warnings include marathon runs? They release dopamines too.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Well, from all reports this goes a lot further back that a single game; in fact there have been more than a few interviews with early pioneers of the internet that clearly stated they understood the addictiveness of the net, social media, etc. and did it anyway without reservation .... all for the sake of the almighty dollar. Perhaps some of the presidential candidates have it right and we need to go after ALL of those that participated in this mess ..... of course, that could leave one heck of a lot of people out of jobs and a bunch of game junkies without their daily fix ..... can't wait to hear the solutions for that one!
 

ZackL04

TS Guru
Good luck with this suit, what a joke.

On a similar note, Ive played this game maybe 5 rounds. Its no more addictive than any other game on the market, I would say its less so than some I can think of.
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
I'd love to know how it ruined the child's life. And how that "ruining" wouldn't have been caused by any other popular game. Another interesting facet, as Puiu referenced, is has that game "ruined" the lives of children in all families, ie. is it just the game alone or are other factors, such as the parents, also a significant factor in the ruining of the child's life.
I thoroughly enjoy seeing Epic suffer but I can't see this case gaining much traction.
 

DukeJukem

TS Booster
Im almost 30 and im pretty sure video games have been addicting since the dawn of video games. unfortunately parents are retarded these days and dont know how to discipline a child or enforce rules on them, such as limiting their video gaming time and making them go outside and be social. children seriously never go outside and play anymore.
 
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candle_86

TS Enthusiast
Im almost 30 and im pretty sure video games have been addicting since the dawn of video games. unfortunately parents are retarded these days and dont know how to discipline a child or enforce rules on them, such as limiting their video gaming time and making them go outside and be social. children seriously never go outside and play anymore.
Not all, I limit my daughter to no more than 2 hours of tablet/PC time a day. Outside of that she plays with the dog, the lizards or outside. And tv we watch together as a family in the evening.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Right! When you don't want to blame yourself for your own addiction. Blame the one profiting on your lack of self control. No one forced the addiction on you, it was your own free will. If the judge doesn't kick this one out. It will serve as another nail in societies coffin.
 
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texasrattler

TS Evangelist
Games have always been addictive, no different than Chips, Soda, Tobacco or Alcohol but the real difference today is the laws have changed and class gaming has a disorder, that changes everything. Lets not forget that Canada laws can be very different than America and other countries. IMO I think the law firm has a case and if what they say is true about Epic hiring psychologists, not gonna go well for Epic at all. Also don't forget that the Consumer Protection Act is not a joke and companies do have to clearly disclose risks associated with products or services. If Epic did not do such a thing, then that can go against them. I don't think this will be a open n shut case, we may be hearing about this for awhile. Time will tell if this means anything.
 
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johnofo

TS Rookie
As someone else said pretty sure most games cause the dopamine release. I've only tried Fortnite once and didn't like it much though I regularly play PUBG with friends (feels more realistic and tactical without the crazy building function to me) and towards the end of a round when there's a chance you might win, heart-rate is elevated, the sweats kick in. Definitely addictive and does feel like an achievement when you beat everyone else

My parents allowed me one hour of gaming a night when I was a kid and I was allowed to play "violent games" like Street Fighter or Streets of Rage one night a week.

These days a lot of parents don't bother regulating their children in gaming or online at all.
 

isamuelson

TS Booster
Yup. This game is so addicting I quit playing it in one day. Haven't played it since for over a year now. (insert eye roll in here)