Fortnite has become and obsession since its 2017 release. Now, a group of Canadian parents is looking to regain their children's attention with a lawsuit that claims the game is "as addictive as cocaine."
Montreal's Calex Légal law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of two parents against Fortnite's parent company, Epic Games, according to CBC. The suit claims that Fortnite causes the brain to release dopamine at a rate that's similar to cocaine, leading to chemical addiction. The parents and their legal team believe that Epic Games purposely created Fortnite 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," an attorney for Calex Légal, Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, explained. "They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth."
Calex Légal is building a case that is similar to a class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies. In 2015, a Quebec Superior Court ruled that tobacco companies did not adequately warn consumers about the dangers of smoking. Because the firm alleges Epic Game knew Fortnite was addictive, the argument is that company should have done more to make consumers aware of the side effects.
"In our case, the two parents that came forward and told [us], 'If we knew it was so addictive it would ruin our child's life, we would never have let them start playing Fortnite or we would have monitored it a lot more closely," Chartrand said. The World Health Organization's recent decision to add "Gaming Disorder" to its International Classification of Diseases helped Calex create their case.
It hasn't been disclosed how much the parents are hoping from Epic Games, but it's reportedly a "large figure"