CARY – Epic Games will be the defendant following a class action lawsuit brought this week by multiple parents. The lawsuit alleges that Fortnite’s addictive nature was authorized by a Quebec Superior Court Judge. But Epic says the suit is “meritless.”
“We plan to fight this in court,” said Natalie Munoz, communications director corporate for Cary-based Epic. “This recent decision only allows the case to proceed. We believe the evidence will show that this case is meritless.”
Epic launched earlier this week new accounts for Fortnite players aimed at younger players as part of its efforts to create a safer metaverse.
Epic Games launches kids accounts, wants ‘safe and inclusive’ metaverse
“We have industry-leading Parental Controls that empower parents to supervise their child’s digital experience,” Munoz said. “Parents can receive playtime reports that track the amount of time their child plays each week, and require parental permission before purchases are made, so that they can make the decisions that are right for their family.”
Munoz also mentioned that other steps were taken.
“We have also recently added a daily spending limit by default for players under the age of 13,” she said
The case was brought to the court in 2019 for the first time.
A media report for 2019 reports that Epic Games Inc. was sued and its Canadian subsidiary was sued in the original case against it. The lawsuit was brought by parents of two children aged 10 and 15 years old.
The original filing compared Fortnite playing to cocaine. It stated that Fortnite can cause young people to become dependent on gaming and release dopamine.
Tim Sweeney: Epic Games ‘has no plans’ for Fortnite virtual reality
An attorney working on the class action lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs noted that the case may be similar to a previous ruling made in 2015 by the Quebec Superior Court that found tobacco companies didn’t warn their customers about the dangers of smoking.
“[The game] It uses design patterns that encourage engagement. You have to understand that children’s prefrontal cortices are still developing … so that could be part of the explanation for why this game is particularly harmful,” Jean-Philippe Caron, one of the CaLex Legal lawyers working on the case told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In 2019, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, labeled Fortnite as “an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible” during a television interview.
Prince Harry: ban ‘Fortnite’; critics: he’s ‘clueless,’ game not ‘addictive’
Epic is facing more legal problems
Epic Games, Apple and other parties have been involved in legal actions which resumed in recent weeks. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said this week that “every politician should fear” Apple’s ability to control mobile applications.
The legal battle is ongoing for more than 2 years. It started when Epic Games and Fortnite were removed from the Apple app store.
But the comments from Sweeney this week came following a tweet where Sweeney noted that “Apple is a threat worldwide to freedom.”
“They maintain an illegal monopoly on app distribution, they use it to control American discourse, and they’re endangering protesters in China by storing sensitive customer data in a state-owned data center,” he added.
Apple is a menace to freedom worldwide. They maintain an illegal monopoly on app distribution, they use it to control American discourse, and they’re endangering protesters in China by storing sensitive customer data in a state-owned data center.https://t.co/DX1SmULPZe
— Possibly Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) November 28, 2022
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