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Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP and Kaliel PLLC: New Class Action Lawsuit Challenges Fortnite’s Sale of Loot Boxes

George Miller

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Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP and Kaliel PLLC: New Class Action Lawsuit Challenges Fortnite’s Sale of Loot Boxes
Image Source: theverge.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP and Kaliel PLLC filed suit, 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, alleging that Defendant Epic Games, Inc., the developer of the wildly popular video game Fortnite, uses predatory tactics to lure players into making in-game purchases. Specifically, the Complaint challenges Fortnite’s unfair and deceptive marketing of its “loot boxes,” known as “Llamas,” in Fortnite Save the World.

The Complaint, which is filed as a class action on behalf of California consumers, is brought by Mr. Altes on behalf of his child, a minor. Melissa Weiner, an attorney representing Mr. Altes and his son, commented, “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 which contains a randomized selection of virtual items to be used in a game. Loot boxes can contain everything from purely cosmetic items—known as “skins,” which offer no competitive advantages—to a variety of items such as “power ups” that can dramatically alter a player’s chance of progressing in the game. The loot boxes in Fortnite Save the World, known as Llamas, are of the latter variety, offering players a chance to advance in the game.

Recently, loot boxes have generated significant controversy, with some countries, such as Belgium, Netherlands, and Australia finding that they constitute illegal gambling, based on the fact that consumers pay real currency for potential “loot” that is not guaranteed.

Other countries, including China and Korea, have recently issued regulations requiring games with loot boxes to disclose the odds of winning loot box contents.  In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has vowed to investigate the use of loot boxes in video games, but so far, has taken no action.

Mr. Altes’ Complaint, which was filed in federal court in California, alleges that through both misrepresentations and omissions, Epic markets loot box Llamas in Fortnite Save the World as highly likely to contain valuable loot, but in reality, the Llamas do not contain the loot expected by the reasonable consumer, and especially by the reasonable minor. The Complaint alleges that Epic fails to disclose that the odds of receiving valuable loot are next to nothing, and, if players knew the actual odds of receiving the items they desired, they would not purchase the Llamas.

Sophia Gold, another attorney representing Mr. Altes, commented, “In nearly every other game of chance, the odds of winning are disclosed.”

Mr. Altes, who brings his claims under California consumer protection law, seeks both an injunction and a class-wide refund.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Compliance Updates

Spain Moves Forward on Gambling Ads Ban

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: casinobeats.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

The PSOE minority government in Spain is going to accept all the recommendations of Ombudsman Francisco Fernández Marugán to ban gambling advertising.

The Ministry of Finance has accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations. That way, departments would have to enforce new restrictions on the gaming industry. The authorities will soon draft a Royal Decree to establish restrictions on gambling advertising in Spain.

The Ombudsman filed his recommendation with the ministries of Treasury and the Health, Consumer and Welfare. Within the filing, he asked for a complete ban on gambling advertising in Spain.

“kids’ viewing time needs to be clean of gambling ads and no celebrities should be shown advertising gambling,” he said.

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Compliance Updates

Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to Disclose Loot Boxes Odds

Niji Narayan

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The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has revealed that the console makers are working on policies that will require disclosure on loot boxes odds. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are working on policies that would require a loot boxes disclosure on their systems.

“These required disclosures will also apply to game updates if the update adds new loot box features. The precise timing of this disclosure requirement is still being worked out, but the console makers are targeting 2020 for the implementation of the policy,” Michael Warnecke, ESA chief counsel of tech policy said.

The list of member companies that committed to implementing the changes include: Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast.

“I’m happy to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games developed for their platform. Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features. And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomised virtual items in games that are available on their platforms,” Warnecke said.

“The major console makers are committing to new platform policies that will require paid loot boxes in games developed for their platforms to disclose information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomised virtual items,” Warnecke added.

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Compliance Updates

Green Jade Games Secures Malta Licence

Niji Narayan

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Green Jade Games Secures Malta Licence
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Green Jade Games has secured a supplier licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The licence will allow Green Jade Games to offer its online casino games to the operators in regulated markets across Europe and further afield. The MGA licence comes just a few weeks after Green Jade Games secured a supplier licence from UK Gambling Commission.

Green Jade’s games combine gambling and skills to create games that allow players to determine the course of the narrative and the outcome of the game. The deeply entertaining games of Green Jade allow players to improve their skills at deploying game features while also having the opportunity to win potentially large cash prizes from relatively small stakes.

“Obtaining our licence from the Malta Gaming Authority is the next step in our plans to provide our games to all of the major online casino operators in regulated and regulating markets around the world. Our games are truly unique and genuinely innovative and now that we hold an MGA permit we can offer them to more operators, and players, than ever before. It also proves that we are meeting the highest possible standards when it comes to responsible gambling and protecting players,” Benedict McDonagh, CEO of Green Jade Games said.

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