MADRID, Dec. 13 (Portaltic/EP) –
Canada has given the green light to a class action lawsuit against Epic Games by parents and guardians who allege that underage players’ addiction to Fortnite is similar to drug dependency, specifically cocaine.
Three parents from Quebec City have sued the US-based video game developer, alleging that the creators of the title deliberately designed this game. to make it “highly addictive”.
Due to the characteristics of the ‘battle royale’, the plaintiffs consider that Fortnite has harmed children, who have suffered “psychological, physical and financial damage”, according to CTV News.
The accusations related to the economic aspect are due to the fact that the video game offers the exclusive currency of the title, V Bucks, that is purchased with real money within Fortnite.
In fact, according to the plaintiffs, these children would have spent “hundreds of dollars”, sometimes without their knowledge, on characters and other features of the game, according to the class action lawsuit filed against Epic Games.
This also alludes to the fact that the video game generates great addiction. So much so that one of the minors affected, identified as JO.Z, would have played Fortnite for more than 7,781 hours in less than two years. Many of those games, moreover, would have lasted until three in the morning.
Another of the minors, on the other hand, would have accumulated 59,954 minutes in the video game games, which is equivalent to have been playing for 42 days in a row and uninterrupted.
The Quebec court that has given the green light to this complaint has indicated that “there is no certainty” that these accusations are realbut that this “does not exclude the possibility that the game is in fact addictive” and that, furthermore, “it is presumed that its creator and distributor is aware of it.”
Another of the outstanding aspects of this lawsuit is that the parents of one of the alleged victims have compared the addiction that can generate a dependency similar to that of drugs. Specifically, cocaine. Furthermore, one of the parents who signed the complaint has presented before the court a medical report in which his son was diagnosed as a cyber addict.
For its part, Epic Games has argued that these allegations are unsubstantiated and that this report was not part of a formal diagnosis. Likewise, it has insisted that there is no clear definition that defines this alleged disorder or addiction.
In this sense, Epic Games has the support of the American Psychiatric Associationwho shares this assessment, despite the fact that the judge maintains that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified this problem as a disease since 2018.
The video game developer has a period of 30 days to appeal these accusations, although, if it does not, it must defend itself in court once this first stage of the judicial process is over.
In statements collected by CTV News, the developer has insisted that it has “industry leading parental controls” that offer parents and guardians the opportunity to supervise their children’s digital experience.
Likewise, the company spokesperson, Nathalie Muñoz, has reported that they plan to show that this complaint is not justified. At the moment, Epic Games has 30 days to appeal said sentence.