Epic Games could be faced with a class action lawsuit based on Fortnite’s addictive properties that cause young teenagers and children to become dependent on playing the battle royale (via PC Gamer).
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the legal firm Calex Légal has applied for authorisation to enact a class action lawsuit against Epic Games. The legal notice was filed on behalf of the parents of the children affected by addiction to Fortnite. The claim asserts that Epic Games brought on psychologists to the development of Fortnite in order to ‘ make it as addictive as possible.’
‘They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth,’ Calex Légal lawyer Alessandra Esposito Chartrand said. Chartrand is looking for other stories from parents who are experiencing problems with their child’s relationship with the game. In this case, the parents compared Fortnite to cocaine and tobacco, and the dopamine released from playing the game causes a fixation within a brain that’s undergoing a great deal of change through adolescence.
Calex Légal believe the potential lawsuit shares the legal basis as a 2015 class action lawsuit against tobacco companies for failing to communicate the adverse health problems that comes with smoking. In addition, the case draws upon the 2018 research by the World Health Organisation that defined video game addiction as a disease.
Fortnite does use a waiver in its terms of service that prevents players initiating a class action lawsuit. But Calex Légal claims that in Quebec, this waiver does not hold up to the Consumer Protection Act, which requires companies to warn customers about potential risks, like an addiction.