“Reprehensible”: Microsoft, EA, Activision Blizzard, and More Sued for Allegedly Enabling Gaming Addiction

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Image: Activision

Can’t seem to put Diablo or Call of Duty down? For some, it’s just a matter of shutting that gaming PC or Xbox off, while for others, it’s a signal to lawyer up.

As uncovered by Insider Gaming, a number of today’s biggest gaming companies, including Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, are being sued by members of the Dunn family (no, not that guy) under the allegation that they intentionally design video games to be super addicting, and use various means to do so.

According to the 128-page complaint, which was filed on Devil’s Night and also lists Epic Games, EA, and Ubisoft as defendants, such methods would include feedback loops and reward systems, “addictive features and technology” that ensure players are not only playing longer, but encouraged to spend more of their money on microtransactions.

The complaint also alleges that these gaming companies have gone so far as to hire psychologists and neuroscientists to help them develop new games for the sake of making them “as addictive as possible.”

Here are some choice quotes from Casey Dunn, one of the plaintiffs, who believe video games are “destroying” her son’s life:

We never imagined when our son started playing video games that he would become so addicted that his education would severely suffer, he would lose all interest in spending time with his friends, and his physical and mental health would be at risk.

These video game companies have targeted and taken advantage of kids, prioritizing their profit over all else. As a mom, I knew I had to do something to ensure they don’t get away with destroying the wellbeing and futures of our children.

And here’s what the family’s attorney, Tina Bullock, had to say:

Gaming addiction is a serious, life-altering disorder that is stealing children’s lives and disrupting families across the country. Parents like me often mistakenly think it is a failure on their part when their child becomes addicted, but through this litigation we hope to shine a light on these companies’ reprehensible actions, deceit, and manipulation of our children for their own financial gain.

The plaintiffs are suing not only for monetary recovery and mental health resources for affected families, but they are also seeking a change to how games are made and marketed.

This lawsuit is reportedly only the “first of many to be filed in the coming weeks.”

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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