Fortnite developer Epic Games sued for ‘addictive’ game to children


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While playing “Fortnite” around January 2019, a boy’s body grew warm as he struggled to breathe and form thoughts. after a new lawsuit.

His guardian claims the boy, now 17, had experience his first panic attack when he felt the pressure of the popular video game. After the boy suffered another panic attack eight months later, his guardian claims he was diagnosed with cyber addiction and began meeting with a counselor at an addiction rehabilitation center.

The allegations are part of a lawsuit filed by three Canadian parents versus Epic Games, the developers of “Fortnite”. Parents argue that the game is addictive and has turned their children’s lives upside down.

“There is no doubt that the defendants have achieved their objective of making FORTNITE as addictive as possible,” the class action alleges, “and thereby knowingly endangering the health of users without exposing them to the danger inherent in using FORTNITE.” to warn .”

The lawsuit, which was filed in October 2019, was approved by a Quebec City judge last week.

In a statement to The Washington Post, spokeswoman for Epic Games Natalie Munoz wrote: “We plan to fight this in court. We believe the evidence will show that this case is unfounded.”

Shortly after Epic Games released “Fortnite” in July 2017, the online game about shooting, survival and world building became a worldwide sensation. The free game has more than attracted 350 million Players who can purchase exclusive items, characters, and celebratory dances to enhance the experience.

The parents who filed the lawsuit say in some cases their children have stopped eating, showering or socializing because of their obsession with play. The plaintiffs also argue that children are not mature enough to understand the game’s terms of service.

“FORTNITE has created a vicious circle through its marketing in which children must buy to feel fulfilled and accepted by their peers,” the lawsuit states, “while exploiting their vulnerable position.”

After the July hearings, Quebec Supreme Court Justice Sylvain Lussier wrote in a Dec. 7 ruling that the case was not “frivolous” or “manifestly ill-founded.” As an analogy, Lussier wrote: “The harmful effects of tobacco were not recognized or recognized overnight.”

If the lawsuit prevails, Lussier wrote, addicted players residing in Quebec since September 1, 2017 could be compensated.

Attorney Jean-Philippe Caron, representing the plaintiffs, said that over 200 parents in the Canadian province emailed him last week, saying their children’s well-being was also being affected by “Fortnite.” been.

“We are extremely confident about this case,” Caron told The Post.

In 2018, the World Health Organization recognized gaming disorder as a disease. Some experts have said that “Fortnite” players are left with reduced vocabulary, while others have ended up in rehab to be treated for heroin abuse related addictions. Some professional sports teams even banned their athletes from playing “Fortnite”.

Munoz, spokeswoman for Epic Games, told The Post that “Fortnite” allows parents to monitor their children’s playtime and get their permission before purchasing. Users under the age of 13 have a daily spending limit of $100.

The children referenced in the lawsuit allegedly played the game for thousands of hours, including one that completed 7,781 games over a two-year period. The parents who filed the case claim that their children are now using vulgar language and are not enjoying other activities.

The boy, who suffered from panic attacks, first downloaded the game in March 2018 as a 15-year-old. His guardian claims he attended 6,923 games, which is 59,954 minutes, or almost 42 matchdays. The boy sometimes doesn’t stop playing until his parents ask him to unsubscribe, which his guardian says leads to arguments. The lawsuit alleges the boy spent more than $5,550 in life savings on the game.

The guardian “had no idea of ​​the harmful consequences that FORTNITE would have on her child,” the lawsuit states, “and if she had been informed by the defendants of the risks and dangers associated with using FORTNITE, she would have.” categorically refused to allow the game to be downloaded.”