Quebec parents seek class action against makers of 'addictive' Fortnite game

A legal notice filed in Quebec on behalf of two children who became devoted to the game likens it to cocaine saying it triggers the release of “reward” neurotransmitter dopamine

Quebec parents seek class action against makers of 'addictive' Fortnite game

Calex Légal claims that not only is the game highly addictive with real physical, social and mental consequences but that Fortnite was designed with the help of psychologists specifically to make it more addictive.

The filing is on behalf of two plaintiffs-parents of Quebec children who are 10 and 15.

Chartrand said her firm was contacted by parents interested in suing the company for producing such an addictive game.

Montreal-based Calex Legal is seeking to sue Epic Games Inc., the US company behind the popular online video game, as well as its Canadian affiliate based in British Columbia. Similar arguments were used successfully in lawsuits against tobacco companies. According to Chartrand, both cases share the same legal basis. They allege that Epic Games poured an extensive amount of research and development into making the game highly addictive and therefore have a duty to warn potential players.

Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney with Calex Légal, says Fortnite Battle Royale was created to be addictive.

"The addiction to the Fortnite game has real consequences for the lives of players: several don´t eat or shower, and no longer socialize", says the lawsuit. As Global's is representing Amanda Jelowicki explains, gaming addiction is recognized as an illness by the World Health Organization.

There is no word yet on when a judge will rule on the class-action request or how much compensation Calex Légal will be looking for. Players can upgrade their characters by purchasing outfits, accessories and access to certain levels.

Epic Games did not immediately reply to a request for comment early Friday.

What's interesting is that Epic Games' terms of service actually include a class-action waiver provision.

To play the game, users must give up the right to go to court individually or as part of a class-action. Following an appeal, the court upheld the ruling, awarding billions of dollars in damages to 100,000 people and supporting the assertion that the companies had failed to warn their customers about the dangers of smoking. The game launched in 2017 is the most popular game of the time and now has over 250 million players.

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