A Quebec Class Action That Likens Fortnite To Cocaine Will Go Ahead

The plaintiffs allege that Fortnite was deliberately designed to be addictive.

Senior Editor
A person plays Fortnite on a handheld console.

A person plays Fortnite on a handheld console.

A class action lawsuit in Quebec alleges that Fortnite maker Epic Games deliberately designed the game to be addictive and neglected to inform players of the associated risks.

The class includes anyone living in Quebec who since September 2017 has developed an addiction to Fortnite Battle Royale that damaged their personal, family or social lives, or their education, work activities or any other important functioning activities in their lives.

A second group in the class includes minors who made purchases using the in-game currency "VBUCKS."

In a court filing by their representatives Calex Legal, the plaintiffs charged that Fortnite "is dangerous and harmful to the health of users, since the product was designed to create addiction" akin to that associated with cocaine.

They cited the World Health Organization's recognition of "Gaming Disorder," which the international body defines as, among other things, "a pattern of gaming behaviour [...] characterized by impaired control over gaming" and "increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities."

The plaintiffs pointed to alleged symptoms associated with addiction to Fortnite, including migraines, back pain, "lack of basic hygiene," trouble sleeping and "significant social problems."

They further claimed that Fortnite makers "voluntarily decided not to disclose to users the risks and dangers associated with Fortnite, choosing instead to deny the addictive aspect of the product" while using marketing that appealed to children.

Reached by MTL Blog, Epic Games declined to comment on this story but argued in court that the plaintiffs failed to provide sufficient medical or scientific evidence of addiction to the game or of any adverse effects on players' health.

The class action was approved in December 2022. Epic Games appealed that decision but lost the appeal in February 2023, Radio-Canada reports.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental health concerns, please reach out to a trusted peer, parent or health care professional. You can also contact the Crisis Services Canada helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, or consult these additional resources. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.
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