The maker of a popular video game could be facing a potential lawsuit after being accused of intentionally making the game “addictive.”
A class-action lawsuit filed in Canada against the maker of Fortnite alleges the multiplayer video game was designed by the company to be as addictive as cocaine, USA Today reported.
(Video: YouTube/Fox Business)
The U.S.-based video game publisher Epic Games Inc. and its Canadian affiliate are being held to account for using psychologists “to develop the most addictive game possible,” according to the lawsuit launched by a Montreal-based law firm which is pending approval in court.
“The addiction to the game Fortnite has real consequences on the lives of players, many of whom have developed problems such that they do not eat, do not shower and no longer socialize,” the lawsuit stated about the game which is free to use but requires any added features for the virtual players to be purchased separately.
“Moreover, rehabilitation centers specifically dedicated to addiction to Fortnite have opened all over the world, particularly in Quebec and Canada, to treat people for addiction,” the lawsuit, which was written in French, read.
“The defendants used the same tactics as the creators of slot machines, or variable reward programs, (to ensure) the dependence of its users,” the lawsuit alleged. “Children are particularly vulnerable to this manipulation since their self-control system in the brain is not developed enough.”
Calex Légal filed a motion Thursday in Quebec Superior Court on behalf of two sets of parents who allege their 10- and 15-year-old sons became severely dependent on the game.
“We’ve been hearing stories in the world of video games for over a decade of people who start playing these online fantasy games and just dive in head-first, and don’t come out,” Fox News’ Brett Larson said on “FBN:am” Tuesday.
“The concern here are younger children, teenagers. Their brains aren’t fully developed to know when to say, ‘okay I’ve had enough,'” the morning anchor on “Fox News Headlines 24/7” on SiriusXM added, noting the difficulty some parents have had in setting boundaries and limits.
“The concern, though, is always going to fall on is it the game-maker’s fault that the game is addictive?” he asked. “Obviously, if they’re using psychologists to make the game addictive, that’s troubling and problematic.”
Fox Business co-host Cheryl Casone brought up the “legal argument” and the way personal choice is given a pass in favor of blaming the manufacturer of a given product.
“We now say that drug makers are now responsible for opioid addiction. Forget personal choice to take the opioids – it’s on the drug maker,” she said, citing drug, tobacco and alcohol companies as examples and pointing out that many times, the companies settle the cases rather than continue in a long, drawn-out and expensive legal battle.
“The argument could be made that Netflix is addictive because, you know, they want you to binge-watch their shows,” Larson said, agreeing with the premise. “You’re absolutely right, where does personal responsibility come in to play?”
But he contended that when the issue involves children and teens, “that’s kind of a different story,” noting that parents “definitely should be keeping an eye on what their kids are doing, and setting time limits.”
Co-host Lauren Simonetti pointed out that “some parents do the opposite and get tutors so that their kids are better at Fortnite and can compete.”
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