Parents suing multiple publishers for getting child 'addicted' to video games
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One mother based in Arkansas, USA, has launched a lawsuit against several major gaming companies for enabling childhood gaming addiction, citing problems including excessive playtime and spending.
As reported by Insider Gaming, the complaint was filed on 30 October in the Eastern District of Arkansas against Activision Blizzard, including Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games, Microsoft, Epic Games, EA, including EA Dice, and Ubisoft, including Ubisoft Montreal. The lawsuit argues that the “use of patented designs, algorithms and marketing containing addictive features and technology” is leading to addiction, particularly in children.
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According to the lawsuit, these features prey on the utilised data collection of minors, ‘predatory’ monetisation schemes, and feedback loops to keep players engaged. There are 14 counts of action in total (via GamesIndustry.biz), with these including liability and negligence for failure to warn users of addictive qualities in games, deceit and fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducements, and violation of the Deceptive Trade Practice Act.
The lawsuit was filed by a mother on behalf of her child and husband. The child, referred to only as G.D. is 13 years old and is said to play between 12 and 14 hours worth of games per day. His parents say they’ve attempted to limit this time. The child’s most commonly played games include Fortnite, Rainbow Six: Siege, in addition to various Battlefield and Call of Duty titles - with the minor reportedly spending $350 a month on gaming.
In total, the child is believed to have spent $3,000 just on in-game transactions and downloadable content. This total does not include the cost of the child’s various consoles, games, or their Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
The plaintiff is reportedly seeking damages for injuries sustained by the child (including physical pain in his hands, elbows, and shoulders), for the financial loss experienced by the family, and legal fees. In total, the lawsuit is 129 pages long, with loot boxes and pay-to-win transactions cropping up as common problems.
The amounts of such damages will likely be determined in court as the case progresses.