Fans sue (or try to sue) video game companies all the time. Just this year a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II Fan sued remaster publisher Aspyr for non-delivery of the planned restored content DLC, but these situations typically target specific companies and involve an isolated problem. However, a family is attempting to sue several of the industry’s largest publishers for promoting video game addiction and affecting multiple aspects of their son’s life and health.
The complaint (discovered by Insider Gaming And GI.biz) comes from an Arkansas mother who accuses five companies, namely Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Epic Games, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, and their subsidiaries of using “patented designs, algorithms and marketing with addictive features and technologies” to encourage addictive tendencies among minors to encourage their “predatory” monetization methods. The complaint specifically accuses the companies of strict liability and negligence for failing to inform consumers about the potentially addictive design of their games while marketing them to young children and seeking to encourage microtransaction spending.
The mother points to her own son’s gaming habits, who states in the complaint that he plays “approximately 13 hours per day.” Fourteen days, call of Duty, BattlefieldAnd Rainbow Six He also sneaks behind his parents’ backs to continue playing and spending money on microtransactions.
According to the lawsuit, the Arkansas child “experienced physical pain in her hands, elbows and shoulders; increased weight and morbid obesity; reduced social interactions; a decline in their grades and inability to attend school; Depression; lack of interest in other sports/hobbies; a loss and/or lack of friends at school when they can attend; Withdrawal symptoms such as anger, rage, and physical outbursts; loss of friends; and other emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering” as a result of her video game addiction. All of this has led the family to seek counseling, medication and an individualized education plan including home schooling for their son.
The family is seeking damages for their son’s physical injuries as well as the various costs they had to incur in caring for his son for all of the reasons stated above. While some may have the knee-jerk impulse to shift responsibility to parents, this is the case extensive research into how video games can be addictiveand how the effects of this addiction can be similar to those of mental loops in humans engage in gambling. There are Clinics that treat those affectedAnd The World Health Organization even recognizes Gaming Disorder as a legitimate health problem.