Epic Games is facing another lawsuit over its game Fortnite, though this latest case has little to do with battle royale or dance moves.
A Californian man has filed a legal complaint against the game developer on behalf of his son, alleging that the loot box-esque “loot llamas” in the Fortnite: Save the World flavor of the game exploits children.
Loot llamas show odds for potential drop rarity as of a January 2019 update to the game, but prior to that the boxes were completely blind meaning that players had no way of knowing in the moment exactly how likely they were to pull the rare drop they were after.
It’s that pre-update stage of the game that plaintiff Steve Altes takes issue with in the potential class action suit spotted by The Verge, though the fact that the game has since been altered to include odds is not mentioned in the lawsuit. The complaint says that the game is structured in such a way that it “entices minors and others into purchasing loot boxes, known as llamas, using unfair and deceptive marketing." That includes the fact that purchasable loot llamas would display a potential high-value drop before being opened, though the actual odds of receiving that drop were allegedly quite low.
“Players are encouraged to keep purchasing llamas with the reasonable belief that repeated purchase will lead to the chance of receiving better loot and therefore improvement in performance of the game,” continues the document. “Through both express misrepresentations and omissions, Epic markets llamas as highly likely to contain valuable loot that will increase a player’s power and prowess in the Fortnite game. But in reality, llamas do not contain the loot expected by the reasonable consumer.”
The complaint goes on to say that if Altes had known the odds of pulling “the desired loot in llamas were virtually nil” he wouldn’t have made those purchases to begin with and that the very structure of Fortnite’s loot llama’s system violates the consumer legal remedies act, California’s false advertising law, California’s unfair competition law, and constitutes unjust enrichment.
It’s not the first lawsuit levied against Fortnite by any means nor is it the first to take issue with the presence of loot boxes in video games. Just recently, the FTC announced that it would be launching an investigation into loot boxes as a monetization technique through a public workshop later this year.