Two unidentified parents of two children, ages 10 and 15, out of Montreal, Quebec are in the midst of filing a class-action lawsuit against Fortnite developers, Epic Games. The lawsuit alleges that “Fortnite, when played for a long period, causes the player’s brain to release the 'pleasure hormone, dopamine' in the same way that some drugs create a chemical addiction.” This claim bases itself on visual queues within that popular Battle Royale title that strengthens its appeal to a younger audience.
A Montreal-based law firm, Calex Legal, is handling this case in favor of the unidentified parents. Calex Legal attorney, Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, spoke to CBC.ca, stating that “Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists — they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible.”
“They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth,” he continued.
Epic Games Sued for "Addictive Gameplay," No Ruling Yet
Calex Legal is citing a Quebec Superior Court ruling from 2015 in this lawsuit, which dealt with a lack of warning labels regarding the dangers of smoking. Although the law firm did not declare a dollar amount, the parents are seeking damages due to the harmful effects that Fortnite can reflect on its players. The lawsuit is still in its infancy, and Epic Games has yet to reply publicly to the legal action.
There is realistically no predicting where this will end up. Epic Games is based in Cary, North Carolina, so there are some international issues coming into play with this case. As of now, it is unclear as to how this legal action will translate to south of the border. This is not the first lawsuit parents have brought against a video game developer, and it most certainly will not be the last. The increase in gun-related violence as of late has put a microscope on video games as a whole. Nevertheless, we will wait and see how the court proceedings play out considering all of these factors.
Fortnite remains one of the most popular video game titles to date, with upwards of 100K viewers concurrently on the Twitch streaming platform and several million downloads across all platforms.
Image VIA: Epic Games