Fortnite has taken the world by storm. The game is arguably the most fun you can have in a battle royale type game as it has some pretty unique differentiators that set it apart from other battle royales. That being said, the game developer of Fortnite, Epic Games, is now being sued by two parents in Canada, with the lawsuit claiming that the game is as addictive and dangerous as cocaine, and that it should pay a fine for marketing it to children.
In the lawsuit, the parents also claim that Fortnite was developed by psychologists and statisticians to be as addictive as possible by triggering dopamine in a player’s brain so that Epic could benefit from more profits. They even go as far as to compare the game to being as addictive as a casino.
“The defendants used the same tactics as the creators of slot machines, or variable reward programs, [to ensure] the dependence of its users, [and] the brain being manipulated to always want more,”
“Children are particularly vulnerable to this manipulation since their self-control system in the brain is not developed enough.”
Excerpt from the lawsuit
It’s worth noting that while Fortnite is free to play, as do many other online games, players have the option to spend actual cash on loot boxes and other items while in game. In fact, while free to play games may be as its name suggests, majority of them have pay walls. Pay walls are basically invisible barriers that make it close to impossible for players to progress their characters without actually buying an in game item.
And that’s actually where the parents may have a point. You see, loot boxes within games are considered a form of gambling by some people. Because of this, companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have recently came out and said that they would disclose the odds of obtaining rare in-game items in their loot boxes.
Couple that with the fact that the World Health Organization actually has a classified gaming disorder and you can see where the parents are coming from. An Epic Games spokesperson has come out and stated that the company does not comment on ongoing litigation, so as always, we’ll just have to wait and see how this one turns out.