Quebec Judge Rules Fortnite Can Be Sued Over Alleged Addiction Risks
A Quebec judge has authorized a class-action lawsuit against the popular video game Fortnite, citing its potential for addiction. The lawsuit, brought by Montreal-based Calex Legal, alleges that the game’s creators, Epic Games, intentionally designed Fortnite to be highly addictive without providing proper warning to players.
The firm was “heavily inspired” by a landmark civil suit filed against the tobacco industry in Quebec, where they point out that the manufacturer’s legal responsibility for both instances is “basically the same,” according to lawyer Alessandra Esposito Chartrand.
“The court concludes that there is a serious issue to be argued, supported by sufficient and specific allegations as to the existence of risks or even dangers arising from the use of Fortnite,” Justice Sylvain Lussier ruled on Wednesday, saying that the action “does not appear frivolous or manifestly ill-founded.”
The judge also noted that while there is “no evidence for these allegations of the deliberate creation of an addictive game,” it does not “exclude the possibility that the game is in fact addictive and that its designer and distributor are presumed to know it.”
The class-action suit was authorized for any players residing in Quebec since September 1, 2017, who have become addicted to playing Fortnite Battle Royale, with the game impacting their family, social, educational, or professional life. Esposito Chartrand said that 200 people have come forward as of Wednesday.
The plaintiffs have not attached a figure for compensation in the lawsuit. Any potential payments will be determined by the court.
The class-action lawsuit is not the first time Fortnite has faced controversy over its potential for addiction. In 2019, a lawsuit called the game “as addictive as cocaine.” And in the same year, the World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to its list of recognized medical conditions, citing the potential for video games like Fortnite to cause addiction and other negative effects.
Despite the controversy, Fortnite remains one of the most popular video games in the world, with millions of players across multiple platforms. The game has also spawned a thriving esports scene, with professional players competing for millions of dollars in prize money.
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