A law firm in Québec, Canada, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Fortnite.
Epic Games‘ Fortnite Battle Royale has become successful, which is why the company get pools of money (which is used for acquiring exclusives on the Epic Games Store). However, a Québec law firm believes that the game can cause gambling addiction. „We are talking about a game that has been developed by teams of specialized psychologists to create a character of addiction and we criticize the company for not disclosing all the risks and dangers inherent in the product,” Jean-Philippe Caron, the lawyer who leads the case, said. The document filed at the Québec Superior Court says Epic Games „has used the same tactics as slot machine creators – variable rewards – to ensure dependency on users, with the brain being manipulated to always desire more.”
The case was started by Calex in Montréal (this is the law firm) after the parents of kids that play Fortnite say their children have developed a gambling addiction. If the firm wins the case, then Epic Games might have to pay „dozens, even hundreds of millions of dollars” in damages, according to Caron.
The twist here is that in Québec, gambling, cannabis, and alcohol are all effectively state-run services or products, so Calex might be going against high tides of water here. While it’s understandable that there might be concerns about Fortnite (causing a gaming addiction, we don’t deny it either), it will be hard to win against such a big company in court. (And it’s not even a fine, either – the French authorities have recently fined Google for hundreds of millions of euros…)
So we have yet to see what happens here… if Calex somehow wins, then strong regulations might be coming to Fortnite, as the predatory monetization model starts to become a topic in the media of Québec. (They might even follow Belgium’s example of banning loot boxes.)
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