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Monday, October 7, 2019

Fortnite Is Addictive So Sue Epic Games? Not This Again...

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - More trial lawyers out to make a name for themselves.

I may dislike Fortnite, but even so, most of the world still keeps playing it once they get past the Fortnite end-user license agreement that bars a class-action lawsuit. That includes the Canadians, where newbie (founded 2017) law firm Calex Legal (alternatively spelled CaLex Legal or Calex Légal) has filed a lawsuit in Québec on behalf of these two kids and their parents against Epic Games because they purposefully made Fortnite addictive but didn't warn that, which allegedly “ruined” the kids’ lives. They compare it to tobacco companies not warning that tobacco products are dangerous.

Normally, I'd go through the 38-page complaint and tear it apart piece-by-piece, but it's in French. Screw that. 

My opinions haven't changed since the end of 2015 when a 28-year old Russian dude sued Bethesda for Fallout 4 being too addictive, which allegedly was the cause of him getting divorced and losing his job. Seeing as how the Unified Defense Center (which wasn't defending anyone by putting Bethesda on the defence) hasn't said a word about Fallout 4 since their lawsuit was filed, I'm going to guess that lawsuit went absolutely nowhere.

However, Quebec is a messed up place with stupid laws (which is why fun online competitions exclude people from Quebec) that may have an entirely different outcome than Russia. And what makes this slightly different is that we now have Gaming Disorder as a recognised addiction.

My support in that was in getting people the help they might need, not in trying to spur frivolous lawsuits and abandon personal responsibility. Being able to get help IS a part of personal responsibility. It means you know there's a problem and you're trying to seek out resources to get it. That excludes a lawsuit to acquire large amounts of cash, which doesn't really solve your disease.

Fortnite Season 10 X trailer dancing emotes
“Hands down, don't sue!”

In the case of this specific lawsuit, two parents of minors aged 10 and 15 apparently claim that their children's lives are ruined, and said, “If we knew it was so addictive it would ruin our child's [SIC] life, we would have never let them start playing Fortnite or we would have monitored it a lot more closely.” (10-year olds shouldn't be playing Fortnite, which is rated T by the ESRB which is used in Canada.)

I can safely and confidently write this without knowing anything else about this family: They are terrible parents. They're letting a videogame babysit their teenager and pre-teen (who shouldn't be playing the game to begin with). Then they have the audacity to compromise their kids’ future potential by deeming their lives already “ruined”, just so the parents can try to chase after big bucks from a game publisher with the help of bloodthirsty trial lawyers. (I'm also going to say that, contrary to what the parents are now claiming, if Epic Games did put an addictiveness warning in the end-user license agreement, they'd ignore it and proceed to play anyway.)

Isn't that an awful thing for parents to say about their children? That their lives are already ruined? How is that legally determined? If they lose the case, are they going to just trash the kids because they have no future, as already determined by their parents?

Maybe it's political commentary. (And if it's not, I'm going to make it so.) The Canadian federal elections take place in two weeks—Monday, for some reason. Yes, the kids had to live through four years of Justin Trudeau. While that might stunt their growth a bit, they're still not permanently ruined. Just ask American kids who went through 8 years of President Barack Hussein Obama.

That said, I recommend Canadians voting for Andrew Scheer in the October 21, 2019 election. He seems the most reasonable of the folks running. I don't think he'd support this lawsuit, at least.


Ludwig can't comment on the merits of the lawsuit because Quebec is a messed up place and the legal system there is totally different than one that resembles fairness and decency, so this might actually end up working there. Hopefully it doesn't spread elsewhere.

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