Epic Games Faces Lawsuit for Making Fortnite too Addictive for Younger Audience

Yolanda Curtis
October 8, 2019

The firm are asking for other parents concerned that their children are similarly addicted to come forward, stating in their legal notice to Epic Games that players are receiving the chemical dopamine to the brain, and that vulnerable young people can become dependent on playing.

A Montreal legal firm has requested authorization to launch a class-action lawsuit against the widely popular video game Fortnite, comparing its addictiveness and the medical effect to cocaine.

Youth are often criticized or even bullied by peers for not having specific cosmetics in Fortnite, putting intense peer pressure on impulse buys from the in-game microtransaction storefront, or spending hours a day grinding for new unlockables. According to the lawsuit, most of it is based on a previous one from 2015 against tobacco companies, in which the Quebec Superior Court ruled that companies did not do enough to warn its customers about the dangers of smoking.

Caron says the wildly popular game, which even inspired a World Cup-style competition with a $30 million prize pool this summer, earned Epic Games $2.4 billion past year, according to a Nielsen report.

Fortnite allegedly worked with psychologists to make the game as addictive as possible, Calex attorney Jean-Philippe Caron said in an interview with a radio host at Montreal station CHMP-FM.

In 2018, the World Health Organization classified video game addiction as a disease.

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".

"We dug into it and we realized there was a strong case for it", said said Calex Légal attorney Alessandra Esposito Chartrand as reported by the CBC.

Fortnite is now rated T for teens in Canada, meaning it is only meant for those who are 13 or older.

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