MICROSOFT AND EPIC GAMES NAMED IN ‘GAME ADDICTION’ LAWSUIT
A new legal action has emerged, accusing Microsoft, Epic Games, and numerous other game developers and publishers of “ensnaring young and impressionable players, causing a public health crisis.” This is a serious accusation aimed at game developers who utilize loot boxes and mechanics designed to keep young players addicted. The lawsuit alleges that “prominent video game companies” are exploiting technology with the deliberate intention to addict minors, capturing them from an early age.
While this isn’t the first lawsuit of its kind, it is one of the most comprehensive to date. It specifically names a wide range of industry giants, including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Epic Games. The lawsuit originates in Arkansas, but the plaintiffs, who are the parents of a minor impacted by game addiction, are encouraging others to take a stand and oppose these allegedly “harmful” companies.
IS VIDEO GAME ADDICTION REAL?
Let’s preface this by stressing that, yes, ‘video game addiction’ is real. Earlier this year, an NHS-backed clinic in the United Kingdom created to help gamers manage addictions reported record-high patient numbers, all of them in some way obsessed with or addicted to playing games. Typically, it’s the likes of Fortnite, Call of Duty, and FIFA that serve as the basis for these patients registering with the clinic – all of which are made by developers named in this lawsuit.
In the lawsuit’s press release, which was provided by Insider Gaming, the parent from which the lawsuit originates – Casey Dunn – slammed these developers.
‘Gaming addiction is a serious, life-altering disoder that is stealing children’s lives and disrupting families across the country. Parents like me often mistakenly think it is a failure on their part when their child becomes addicted, but through this litigation we hope to shine a light on these companies’ reprehensible actions, deceit, and manipulation of our children for their own financial gain.’
This lawsuit, which is backed by extensive research, looks at everything from the ongoing brain development of a child to the nature of technology changing the industry and making gaming more accessible. For instance, cloud gaming was mentioned – a recent revolution that’s making video games more accessible than ever before. In the lawsuit’s preface, Dunn mentions that her son’s grades had dropped because he wasn’t attending school and he’d experienced ‘extreme weight gain’, all reportedly due to his intense gaming addiction.
THEY’LL SEE YOU IN COURT
It was stressed that this lawsuit is seeking monetary recovery and ‘additional mental health resources’ for families that are wrestling with young children bearing the signs of a gaming addiction. Not only that but it also aims to ‘force defendants’ like Epic Games, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft to ‘change how they design and offer their games to addict minors and young adults.’
It doesn’t end there, though — it was referenced that this is the ‘first of many’ lawsuits of its kind to be filed in the coming weeks, suggesting other parents are going to rise and take action.
On the other side of the coin, many members of the gaming community have struck back against the news of this lawsuit. They’ve taken a deep dive into the claim and pulled out a few details, revealing that Dunn’s son is homeschooled, plays ’12 – 14 hours of games per day’, and spends around $350 on video games and microtransactions. There’s a consensus that as the lawsuit is aired, it’ll boil down to poor parenting or a lack of discipline or boundaries.
In similar news, it was revealed in the summer that a Chinese teenager had spent her parents’ life savings on a gaming spree that racked up a bill of $64,000. In July, the UK games industry revealed a comprehensive plan to restrict the availability of loot boxes in a bid to tackle ‘gambling elements’ in accessible games. In India, games were lumped in with gambling platforms in an attempt to push out a blanket ban across the nation – gaming (particularly competitive gaming) has long been a sticking point for India’s government.
Where do you stand on this topic? Do you believe that gaming addiction is a real thing, or is it the responsibility of parents to keep their child’s habits in check?
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