A Canadian law firm has filed a lawsuit against Epic Games on behalf of two parents who claim that the company’s signature game, Fortnite, is addictive. The lawsuit accuses Epic Games of intentionally designing the game to be “as addictive as possible.”
“Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists – they really dug into the human brain, and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible,” said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney from Calex Légal. “They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth.”
They claim that playing the game causes the brain to release dopamine, creating a pleasurable sensation similar to using drugs such as cocaine.
The parents say their ten-year-old son played 1,700 games in just seven months, while their 15-year-old son managed to play over 7,000 in two years. The older boy would stay up until 1 a.m. on most nights playing the game.
Last year, the World Health Organization classified video game addiction as a disease, defining it as “a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increased priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
The law firm has asked the court to classify the lawsuit as class action and is requesting any other parents who have concerns over their children’s gaming habits to come forward.