Epic Games, developers of the incredibly popular game, Fortnite, are apparently facing a lawsuit over making the game too addictive, particularly given its target audience of young people.
The lawsuit reportedly originates from Montreal, Canada, and pertains to two minors, aged 10 and 15 respectively. CBC reports that the documents included in the lawsuit liken the game’s addictive effects to cocaine.
Allesandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney at Calex Légal (a Canadian law firm) states that the firm realized they have a strong case on their hands, particularly given the World Health Organization’s recent ruling that video game addiction is a disease.
The comparisons to cocaine will undoubtedly be received with a significant degree of scepticism, but the argument is that Fortnite causes the brain to release dopamine; in the same way as a recreational drug.
The need for this dopamine fix is what encourages players to keep returning to the game, in the same way drug addictions are formed.
Furthermore, the game’s target audience is alleged to be young people, who are more vulnerable to the addictive effects of Fortnite. The firm was reportedly approached by the minors’ parents, who claim that their children are addicted to the game, and are seeking reparations.
Much of the case is apparently based on a 2015 ruling from the Quebec Superior Court, that found tobacco companies were not sufficiently warning their customers of the addictive effects of tobacco or the dangers of smoking.
The case is reportedly set to argue that Epic Games have not done enough to disclose the addictive side of Fortnite, particularly given the duty of care that comes with such a juvenile player base.
There is no word – as of yet – as to the amount of money being sought in compensation, but the case has reached headlines thanks to the high-profile of Fortnite.
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There have been arguments about the classification video game addiction as a disease, with some feeling it could contribute to a negative stigma towards gaming in general.
We will continue to update you on this story.