A case has been filed by Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP and Kaliel PLLC, Altes v. Epic Games, Inc. Case No. 2:19-cv-01488, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on February 28, 2019. They alleged that the Defendant Epic Games, Inc. makes use of wrong methods to attract players into making purchases in-game. This complaint is mostly in relevance to Fortnite’s marketing of the loot boxes known as “Llamas” in their famous game, “Fortnite Save the World”.
The complaint was brought by Mr. Altes on behalf of his son and minor. Their attorney, Malissa Weiner, said,“Fortnite’s conduct with respect to loot boxes is especially egregious because so many of its players are kids.”
A “loot box” is a virtual pack of goods and it contains a random selection of items that can be used in the game. These boxes contain purely cosmetic items, which are known as “skins”, to a variety of other items like “power ups” which can dramatically influence a players chance of moving forwards in the game. The loot boxes in Fortnite are of the second type.
Loot boxes have generated significant controversy as some countries, like Belgium and Australia, find that these boxes constitute illegal gambling. This is because consumers pay real currency for potential “loot” that has no guarantee.
Countries like China and Korea recently issued regulations which make it mandatory to disclose the odds of winning the contents of the loot box.
Mr. Altes’ complaint alleges that Epic markets loot box Llamas in Fortnite as very likely to contain valuable loot whereas, in reality the Llamas do not contain the loot expected by a player. According to him the game fails to disclose the odds of receiving valuable loot appropriately.
Another attorney, Sophia Gold further commented, “In nearly every other game of chance, the odds of winning are disclosed.”
Under consumer protection law, Mr. Altes wants both a class-wide refund and an injunction.