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Lawsuit: Fortnite Designed to Be as Addictive as Cocaine

Could become class-action suit in Canada
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2019 12:11 PM CDT
A 10-year-old plays Fortnite in the early morning hours in the basement of his Chicago home on Oct. 6, 2018.   (AP Photo/Martha Irvine, File)

(Newser) – The maker of the wildly popular video game Fortnite is facing a new lawsuit that has nothing to do with dance moves. Addiction to the third-person shooter game "has real consequences on the lives of players, many of whom … do not eat, do not shower, and no longer socialize," reads the filing, which accuses Epic Games of enlisting psychologists to help make a product as addictive as cocaine. Like drug addiction, video game addiction is a disease that requires treatment, and "rehabilitation centres specifically dedicated to addiction to Fortnite have opened all over the world," the document adds, per the Canadian Press. Jean-Philippe Caron, who filed the suit on behalf of the parents of two boys, aged 10 and 15, claims Epic Games failed to warn users about the inherent dangers in Fortnite, which, like slot machines, uses random rewards, per USA Today.

This suit was filed in Quebec, Canada, which could prove key. While Epic Games' terms of service include "a class-action waiver that obliges users to go the route of arbitration to deal with legal problems, such a waiver is illegal in Quebec," the Canadian Press points out, noting Epic Games will be forced to respond if Quebec Superior Court gives the go-ahead. Seeking class-action status, the suit would cover Quebec residents who've become addicted to the game since 2017. That's the year the 15-year-old developed his habit. He now spends at least three hours a day playing Fortnite, the suit claims, while the 10-year-old has played more than 1,800 games since December 2018 and "becomes very frustrated and angry when his parents try to limit his playing time." Fortnite counted nearly 250 million worldwide users as of March, per CNET. The company declined to comment on the suit. (Prince Harry is not a fan.)

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