A Montreal-based legal firm have filed a notice against Epic Games on behalf of the parents of two unnamed minors, claiming that the developer had knowingly designed Fortnite to be as addictive as possible.
Citing the WHO’s eleventh revision of its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) where gaming disorder is a listed illness, Calex Legal said, “Human psychology and manipulation of the human brain has been the epicenter of Fortnite development process that has been specially designed to be highly addictive.”
The filing also claims that the company sought help from psychologists to design the game, which legal counsel Canon Pence denied at a recent hearing with UK parliamentarians.
The filing goes on to say that “Despite reports of several experts on addiction risks Fortnite, the defendants still do not address them as this would jeopardize their record profitability.”
Calex Legal also alleges that the game triggers the so-called “pleasure hormone, dopamine” and could be as “potentially harmful as cocaine.” They go on to say that, “Despite reports of several experts on addiction risks, Fortnite, the defendants, still do not address them as this would jeopardize their record profitability.”
Attorney Alessandra Esposito Chartrand compares it to a 2015 suit in Quebec against tobacco companies for failing to provide adequate warnings about the health risks associated with consumption of tobacco. She said to CBC, “It’s basically the same legal basis. It’s very centred on the duty to inform.”
Chartrand says it will not stand up in Quebec courts due to provincial consumer protection laws.
The legal filing is to open a class action lawsuit against Epic Games and, despite the game featuring a waiver as part of its terms of service, Chartrand says that it will not stand up in Quebec courts due to provincial consumer protection laws. Chartrand was unable to say how much money her firm would seek or when a judge will rule on the class-action request.
This is also not the only court battle that Epic Games could be involved in with the company also facing legal action in California, USA. The most popular version of the game, Fortnite Battle Royale, boasts over 125 million players worldwide and it is reasonable to expect Epic Games to fight tooth and nail to keep its crown jewel in the best shape possible.
Last modified: 21st October 2019