Parents who say their kids are addicted to Fortnite slam Epic Games with lawsuit — and research shows it's not the only game people are worried about
- Parents are arguing that their children experienced symptoms of addiction to Fortnite.
- "We plan to fight this in court. We believe the evidence will show that this case is meritless," Epic Games said in a statement.
A Quebec Superior Court judge authorized a lawsuit earlier this month against Fortnite's manufacturer, filed by parents who say their children became addicted to the video game.
In July, three Quebec parents told Justice Sylvain Lussier that their children appeared to be severely dependent on Fortnite, and stopped eating, sleeping, and showering as a result, BBC News reported.
Lussier's Dec. 7 ruling determined the class-action suit wasn't "frivolous or manifestly ill-founded," according to Global News.
"The court concludes that there is a serious issue to be argued, supported by sufficient and specific allegations as to the existence of risks or even dangers arising from the use of Fortnite," Lussier ruled.
An attorney from the firm that brought the suit equated the game's maker, Epic Games, to a tobacco manufacturer in an interview, and said the legal responsibility was "basically the same."
"Our motion was heavily inspired by the tobacco motion just in terms of what we were alleging," lawyer Alessandra Esposito Chartrand said, according to the Global News report.
Lussier echoed the comparison of video game and tobacco addictions. "The harmful effect of tobacco was not recognised or admitted overnight," he ruled.
However, the court didn't agree with the parents' claim that Epic Games deliberately made Fortnite addictive.
"The court finds that there is no evidence for these allegations of the deliberate creation of an addictive game," the judge wrote. "This does not exclude the possibility that the game is in fact addictive and that its designer and distributor are presumed to know it."
Epic Games denied the validity of the suit in a statement obtained by BBC.
"Parents can receive playtime reports that track the amount of time their child plays each week, and require parental permission before purchases are made," the company said.
"We plan to fight this in court. We believe the evidence will show that this case is meritless."
On average, Fortnite attracts over 80 million active players monthly, according to techacake.com. As part of the class-action, other Fortnite players in Quebec who believe they've experienced symptoms of addiction to the game.
In 2019, the World Health Organization officially classified video game addiction as a mental health disorder named "gaming disorder."
Addiction recovery service Rehabs UK provided Insider with findings that indicate four other games with public concern around addiction, based on monthly global online searches for addiction support. These include Minecraft (2,800 monthly searches), World of Warcraft (2,620 monthly searches), League of Legends (2,130 monthly searches), and Candy Crush (1,550 monthly searches).
"When someone 'needs' to play video games to be happy, and feels miserable when they're not playing, they may have a disorder which is just as real as alcoholism or dependence on prescription drugs," Lester Morse, Rehabs UK founder and director, said in a statement.
Correction: December 23, 2022 — An earlier version of this story misstated which court authorized the lawsuit. It was the Quebec Superior Court, not the Canadian Supreme Court."
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