A class-action lawsuit filed against Epic Games contends that Fortnite is highly addictive to the point where kids have panic attacks over the game’s pressure.
According to the parents, their children — age 10 and 15 — are losing sleep over a game that is intentionally designed to cause addiction and they have hired a law firm, Calex, to represent them. Calex has drawn similarities with a recent tobacco industry case in Quebec, claiming that the manufacturer’s legal responsibility is “basically the same.” The firm attached a report by addiction specialist Anita Ghadia-Smith, who said Fortnite and cocaine addiction qualities are similar.
A Quebec judge has authorized the class action, and if Epic Games doesn’t respond in 30 days, it will have to fight a legal battle in the trial.
Fortnite sued for being too addictive
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2019 but was finally authorized by the Canadian Superior Court judge. According to the parents, their kids had to stop socializing, eating, or sleeping to play Fortnite. One of the kids played all day, sometimes ending at 3 AM, while another had played more than 6,923 games of Fortnite.
Both the kids are under the age of 18. Besides spending thousands of hours gaming, both had also purchased in-game items, sometimes without their parents’ consent. The lawsuit further claimed that the kids would get obsessed with the game, having panic attacks out of pressure.
According to the lawsuit, Epic Games has purposefully designed a game that is dangerously addictive. This argument was backed by the developer’s involvement with psychologist Celia Hodent to create Fortnite. However, the judge has ruled out the possibility that Epic Games intentionally curated such a game. However, the judge did not “preclude the possibility that the game is, in fact, addictive,” and Epic Games is aware of it.
“The Court is of the opinion that the facts alleged with respect to the plaintiffs’ children make it possible to claim if we put them in relation to the statements of certain experts with respect to the creation of an addiction to video games, and more particularly to Fortnite, that the plaintiffs have a valid product liability claim against the defendants,” the judge said.
The law firm has encouraged the parents of underage “gaming addicts” to come forward and make a solid case. While the case is for the perseverance and well-being of children, a secondary category will also look into in-game purchases made by kids under 18. The parents could seek restitution from Epic Games.
Epic Games has told CTV that they “plan to fight this in court.”