A lawsuit was reportedly filed on Thursday against Epic Games, the publishers of gaming sensation “Fortnite,” over its loot box and microtransaction practices within one area of the title.
Details of the suit, launched on behalf of an underage fan by their parent, are up at The Verge and it reportedly alleges that Fortnite Save the World’s original blind-draw loot box mechanics (the ‘Llamas’) are part of a ‘predatory scheme’ that’s deceptive to consumers. Said scheme reportedly hooks players in with a cheap game, and then milks them dry via microtransactions. The lawsuit claims:
“Because Fortnite Save the World’s game progression is inextricably linked to loot progression, players are pushed to keep seeking better loot to progress in the game. Accordingly, Epic designed Fortnite Save the World to effectively limit a player’s ability to progress within the game without spending money on loot boxes. The scheme plays out perfectly to the benefit of Epic: once players are sufficiently invested in the game, Epic induces players to purchase loot boxes in order to get better loot, which results in massive revenue to Epic.
Epic has already ended the practice of blind-draw loot boxes in January which only existed in the ‘Save the World’ co-op mode, and not Battle Royale mode which is where the game has been such a massive success in the past year or so.
The lawsuit follows in the wake of much closer scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers across the world over the practice of loot boxes and microtransactions. Electronic Arts’ release of “Star Wars Battlefront II” in November 2017 got the ball rolling, catalysing what before then had been a growing but still not widely discussed concerns.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons has previously indicated they will investigate video game loot boxes.