Possible Fortnite Class Action Attracts Hundreds

Less than two weeks after news of a potential class action suit against Fortnite became public knowledge, hundreds of parents in Quebec have approached the law firm with the hopes of joining the lawsuit.

As Calex Legal awaits a ruling from the Montreal Court of Justice as to the possibility of filing a class action suit, parents continue to line up to participate.

Meanwhile, Fortnite made news on its own last week. It sucked the entire game into a black hole to end its tenth season of the game. Leaving players with no answers for 36 hours may have unintentionally proven a point about the new lawsuit. It showed gaming addiction in its rawest form via reactions to the absence of the game.

Starting with Two Parents

It all started when two separate sets of parents approached Calex Legal in Montreal with stories of their sons being dangerously addicted to an online video game called Fortnite.

The unrelated boys were aged 10 and 15, and their parents were scared. They claimed their sons’ addictions to Fortnite were like drug addiction. They likened it to a chemical dependency for which they were not prepared.

Calex Legal Attorney Alessandra Esposito Chartrand said the case against Fornite developer Epic Games was strong. She called it a “very, very addictive game” geared toward young people.

In addition, the lawsuit notes that Epic Games violated the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. There was no warning consumers about the potential addiction risks of Fortnite.

Further, they knew other parents would want to join, so they asked the Montreal Court of Justice to allow them to file in a class action format.

The initial filing happened on October 3.

Adding Hundreds More

According to the latest reports, Calex Legal reports that about 300 more people have contacted the firm to join the lawsuit.

Attorney Jean-Philippe Caron of Calex Legal said some people are joining after having been given an actual video gaming addiction diagnosis and have sought treatment and therapy for it. Many are parents seeking help for their children.

Caron said the research shows a huge problem. But he noted, “We didn’t realize just how serious this was until the past few days”. The calls to join the class action suit came in faster than they could initially deal with them all.

Serious Video Game Problems

A reporter for the Chronicle Herald spoke about the lawsuit to Jeff Derevensky, psychologist and head of the McGill University International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours.

After having treated many young people for video game dependence, he understands the concerns of parents. He noted that kids often play the games excessively and obsessively, forgoing sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and even school.

Derevensky mentioned a study from Ontario in 2016 surveying 123,000 students. More than 90% of them played online games, closer to 97% for male. But 13% of them experienced symptoms of addiction or problems indicative of addiction.

He is familiar with the gaming industry’s mantra that they force no one to play, that people play video games of their own free will. Derevensky believes, however, that some parents and children are not easily able to deal with the serious mental challenges that come with addiction.

Fortnite Disappears

Parents almost believed that their wildest dreams came true when Fortnite disappeared from the online space last weekend.

On October 12, millions of Fortnite players were stunned when their games were sucked into a black hole on their computer screens. With little warning, everything disappeared.

The game disappeared. Nothing remained but a black hole.

Season 10 of the game ended in a more dramatic fashion than other seasons, but it left players quite stunned. There were no announcements, no messages, and no word from Epic Games for days as to what happened or if or when the game would return.

There had been announcements about changes to the game, such as the addition of bot players and a matchmaking system to pair player groups with similar skills. And the changes were supposed to require a few days of downtime to complete. However, players had little detail.

Two days after the black hole incident, a trailer appeared for Chapter 2 of Fortnite. There was a new season with a new map and new world.

The reactions of some of players when the black hole occurred gives a glimpse into the attachment that some players have to the game. While some of the clips online are humorous, others offer more insight into the addictive nature of Fortnite and similar games.

Those with extreme attachments to the game were left without answers. But also, without the game to which they had become dependent.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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