October 10, 2019
Epic Games—the North Carolina-based software development company that banked more than $3 billion in profits in 2018, alone, off the game Fortnite, according to TechCrunch—has been accused in a lawsuit of designing the online video competition to be addictive.
The game—which is free to play, but makes money selling digital items—has about 250 million players worldwide; many of them, too obsessed to turn off their screens.
A legal notice was filed Friday in Quebec Superior Court accusing US-based Epic Games of designing the game specifically to hook users, Canada’s Global News reported on October 4. Players have had to seek treatment for their addiction, according to the complaint.
Indeed, the filing says, “The addiction to the Fortnite game has real consequences for the lives of players: Several don’t eat or shower, and no longer socialize.”
Jean-Philippe Caron, the lawyer who brought the lawsuit, alleged that the game’s creators enlisted the help of “psychologists to help make the game addictive.”
He accused Epic Games of failing to “warn about the risks and dangers inherent in their product.” Similar accusations have been lodged in lawsuits against tobacco companies.
Epic Games didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by CNET.
Research contact: @CNET