Despite overhauling its llama loot box feature, the company has found itself at the centre of another lawsuit filed by a disgruntled parent.
The lawsuit (via The Verge) states that “Epic has perfected a predatory scheme whereby it exploits players, including minors” with its loot boxes, that are offered “at a lower price point than competitor video games to entice players” to start playing Fortnite “with the goal of luring” them to splash out and ultimately fill Epic’s pockets with cash. It claims Epic is preying on minors with “predatory tactics.”
Fortnite’s loot llamas are confined to the PvE Save the World mode, and update 7.30 which rolled out earlier this year redressed the system, with the introduction of X-Ray Llamas, that allows players to view the innards of their colourful friends before buying them.
It’s worth noting that Epic didn’t disclose the odds of items appearing before the update, and continues not to do so – something the lawsuit raises, and relates back to the overarching issue of loot boxes in video games.
It draws similarities between loot boxes and slot machines, arguing that Epic bolsters players’ expectations of what’s inside the llamas to “psychologically manipulate” younger players into thinking they’ll “get lucky” and get them to spend more money.
“But what Epic knows – and what its young players do not know – is that Llamas almost never contain what they are touted as containing…Worse yet, Epic fails to disclose the odds of receiving the valuable loot are next to nothing.”
Its an odd stance to take, arguing that a company has failed to disclose loot drop odds, while simultaneously stating that those chances are “virtually nil”. The documents include comments from Reddit threads and Epic’s forums to support this position.
Australian, Belgian and Dutch regulatory bodies have landed on the opposite side of the debate, ruling that they are a form of gambling, with the Belgian Gaming Commission threatening to prosecute companies that don’t change or remove their loot boxes to fall in line with the country’s gaming legislation.
Epic is currently embroiled in another lawsuit over the use of Fortnite dance emotes.
Although Fresh Prince actor, Alfonso Rebeiro, recently lost his copyright bid over the ‘Carlton’ dance, so it remains to be seen how the case will progress if the other celebrities involved find themselves in a similar position.
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