Canadian judge approves lawsuit by parents who say children stopped eating and sleeping to play Fortnite

One of the parents claims their son played the game nearly 7,000 times

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 09 December 2022 11:55 GMT
<p>Fortnite is one of the most commonly streamed games on Twitch</p>

Fortnite is one of the most commonly streamed games on Twitch

A Canadian judge has approved a lawsuit brought by Quebec parents who claim their children became addicted to popular online video game Fortnite.

Justice Sylvain Lussier issued the ruling on Wednesday after hearing arguments in July regarding the class-action request from three parents who described how their children had symptoms of severe dependence after playing the game.

“The court concludes that there is a serious issue to be argued, supported by sufficient and specific allegations as to the existence of risks or even dangers arising from the use of Fortnite,” the judge ruled, noting that the action “does not appear frivolous or manifestly ill-founded”.

The parents claimed their children would become so engrossed in the game that they would forgo sleeping, eating and showering.

They also alleged Fortnite was deliberately made highly addictive and had a lasting effect on their children.

The judge, however, refused to acknowledge that. “The court finds that there is no evidence for these allegations of the deliberate creation of an addictive game. This does not exclude the possibility that the game is in fact addictive and that its designer and distributor are presumed to know it.”

One of the parents claimed in the lawsuit that their son had played the game 6,923 times and got angry when his parents tried to limit his game time, including by putting a lock on the computer.

All parents alleged their children had behavioural issues after spending time playing Fortnite.

The lawsuit by the Quebec parents is against Epic Games, the makers of the online video game, and its Canadian subsidiary.

Epic Games said there is not sufficient evidence that video-game dependence is not a recognised condition in Quebec and added that the American Psychiatric Association said there was insufficient evidence to classify it as a unique mental disorder.

“The fact that American psychiatrists have requested more research or that this diagnosis has not yet been officially recognised in Quebec does not make the claims in question ‘frivolous’ or ‘unfounded,”’ the judge said.

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