Earlier this year, two Canadian parents filed a class-action lawsuit against Fortnite maker Epic Games for allegedly making a game that is as addictive as cocaine. A lawyer for the parents claims that the makers of the video game intentionally designed the game to be addictive.
The lawsuit alleges that Epic Games was aware of the addictive nature of the game but did not warn consumers of the risks. The lawsuit states that the video game causes the release of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. A study shows that dopamine is responsible for a nirvana-like feeling of euphoria. The lawyers for the parents argue that they would not have allowed their children to play the game had they known of its addictive nature.
The lawsuit also contends that the makers of the video game hired psychologists to design the game so that it was as addictive as possible. Unlike the tobacco industry, which allegedly failed to warn users of the dangers of smoking, the makers of Fortnite allegedly knew that the game was potentially addictive. The suit also argues that the maker of the game intentionally made the game as addicting as possible by creating “dark patterns” within the game that are difficult to break out of.
Although the jury may still be out on whether or not the Fortnite game is addictive, one player in the lawsuit claims that he went from playing for a few hours a week to a couple of hours a day in a span of two years. He also claimed that he spent almost $600 on Fortnite V-bucks. He often played the game until 1 am, and has become aggressive while playing.
The Fortnite lawsuit also contends that the game is designed with mechanics that are similar to slot machines. The game offers timed challenges, and players must be the last one standing in order to win. The monetary reward for winning the challenges is real money. This is used to purchase certain features in the game. The plaintiffs are seeking damages and a refund of the in-game purchases. The court may also decide to award a fine.
The lawsuit is being compared to the tobacco industry’s famous class-action lawsuit of 2015, which alleged that the industry failed to warn its consumers of the dangers of smoking. The lawsuit cites a study that shows that the video game may cause the release of dopamine in the brain, a substance that is also found in cocaine.
According to the lawsuit, the video game supposedly made the most of the medically proven fact that the brain releases dopamine when it’s exposed to a certain type of light. The law firm representing the parents says that the video game is not as addictive as cocaine, but it has the same effect. The lawsuit has been endorsed by a handful of Fortnite experts.
In the lawsuit, the lawyers claim that the creators of the game were aware of the potential addiction that the game could cause, but chose to target youngsters rather than adults. While the game does have the ability to create addiction, the jury may decide that the real problem is the lack of proper parental supervision.