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Lawsuit accuses Fortnite maker of designing game to be addictive

Players of Epic Games' hit online game have had to seek treatment, a complaint in Canada charges.

Fortnite week 2 loading screen
Fortnite is specifically designed to be addictive, a lawsuit charges.
Epic Games

The makers of Fortnite have been accused in a lawsuit of designing the online video game to be addictive. The Canadian lawsuit, which seeks class action status, reportedly likens the game play to taking cocaine.

A legal notice was filed Friday in Quebec Superior Court accusing US-based Epic Games of designing the game specifically to hook users, Canada's Global News reported Friday. Players have had to seek treatment for their addiction, according to the complaint.

"The addiction to the Fortnite game has real consequences for the lives of players: Several don't eat or shower, and no longer socialize," the notice says.

Fortnite, which allows up to 100 players to fight in a virtual battlefield, took 2018 by storm. It became one of the biggest free-to-play games on consoles ever, creating a cultural phenomenon that raked in $3 billion for developer Epic Games last year. The game has nearly 250 million users worldwide, the company said in March.

Jean-Philippe Caron, the lawyer who brought the lawsuit, told AFP the game's creators enlisted the help of "psychologists to help make the game addictive."

He accused Epic Games of failing to "warn about the risks and dangers inherent in their product." Similar accusations have been lodged in lawsuits against tobacco companies.

Epic Games didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.