Epic Games and its Canadian subsidiary are facing a class-action lawsuit following claims from parents that children have stopped eating, sleeping, and showering to play Fortnite.
The lawsuit (opens in new tab) claims Epic Games has “knowingly” developed Fortnite to be “very, very addictive” and expresses the concerns of two parents with children ages 10 and 15 at the time of filing. One of the children within the claim reportedly had over 7,700 hours logged in the game over two years.
The case was originally opened against Epic Games in 2019, with law firm Calex Légal, seeking approval from a Canadian Court to proceed with the suit. Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney with Calex Légal, claimed to CBA at the time that Epic Games “hired psychologists” in an effort to make Fortnite “as addictive as possible”. Chartrand also claimed that Epic Games knew Fortnite was created to be as addictive as possible and failed to warn players of the risk of addiction to the game. Due to this, the legal challenge has been centralized about the duty to inform.
Since 2019, the Court has been assessing the claims in debate as to whether or not the case could proceed. Approval has now been granted with Montreal CTV (opens in new tab) reporting that the judge ruled the suit to not be frivolous or manifestly “ill-founded”.
Since its release in 2017, Fornite has logged a player base of over 400 million registered players and at least 83 million playing per month, resulting in the title rapidly becoming one of the most popular online games, especially for younger players, with 60% of its registered players claiming to be between the ages of 18-24 in 2021, as reported by BusinessofApps (opens in new tab).
In response to the claims, Epic Games’ spokesperson, Natalie Munoz, has stated to ABC News (opens in new tab) that Fortnite has “industry-leading parental controls that empower parents to supervise their child’s digital experience.” Parents can also receive playtime reports that track the amount of time spent in-game each week, and permissions are needed before any in-game purchases can be made for younger users.
As a final response to the claims made, Epic Games has stated that it plans “to fight this in court”.
“The recent decision only allows the case to proceed,” Munoz explained to ABC. “We believe the evidence will show the case is meritless.”