Are Games Too Addictive? Game Devs Say No As They Hope to Dismiss Lawsuit


In response to the multiple lawsuits against game development and publishing companies, they have filed a motion to dismiss these claims. Read on to learn more about the lawsuits and the current proceedings.

Game Devs Move to Dismiss Video Game Addiction Lawsuit

An Ongoing Epidemic


During the past 12 months, a total of six lawsuits regarding video game addiction have been filed against Microsoft, Activision-Blizzard, Roblox, Epic Games, Rockstar, and many other game publishers and developers. These complaints claim that these companies are making or contributing to players’ addiction to their games. One notable lawsuit was filed by an Arkansas woman concerning her son’s gaming addiction back in 2023.

To refresh your memory, Elizabeth Jones filed a major lawsuit last November 2023 alleging that Roblox, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Minecraft, and other popular games use "addictive psychological features," to hook her son starting when he was 12 years old. According to the lawsuit, her son is now 21 years old and has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety, dropped out of school, spends $350 a month on video games, and even experienced what was described as "withdrawal symptoms such as rage, anger, and physical outbursts."

The complaint states that game developers are to blame for predatory game designs that "take advantage of the chemical reward system of a user’s brain (especially a minor) to create addictive engagement, compulsive use, and additional mental and physical harm." In addition to this, the complaint also adds that the developers also fail to warn the users of the risk of addiction to their games.


Another lawsuit was filed in Illinois last December 2023, which was also targeting the same companies for being the cause of video game addiction. The complaint stated that video game addiction is an "epidemic harming our nation’s youth," along with immoral practices that ensure maximum playtime to its young audience through feedback loops and reward systems. The complaint also points to "microtransactions," a scheme where players can spend real-world money to buy in-game cosmetics, perks, and other things, as the leading proponent of the addictive and compulsive behavior found in its players.

"The schemes use psychological mechanisms, behavioral psychology, and neuroscience to encourage repeated play and increased spending among users, especially among vulnerable populations like minors," the complaint adds.

Move to Dismiss Lawsuits Collectively


Recently, the motion has been filed for dismissal regarding the Arkansas lawsuit, as the developers called the lawsuit as "an attack on the First Amendment rights of videogame creators." In their motion, the developers’ lawyers argue that games are an "expressive medium," as established in a 2011 Supreme Court decision. The complaint being that their expression is "too entertaining," is not a reason to limit constitutionally protected speech. They also point out that the plaintiffs do not specify or establish the features of each game that cause harm and how they harm.

In response to the complaints regarding "predatory monetization," "monetization schemes," and other sneaky UI tricks called "dark patterns," the developers said "That Plaintiffs find the expression in games 'too persuasive' and 'catchy'—i.e., too entertaining—'does not permit [them] to quiet the speech or to burden its messengers.' "

The developers have also motioned for the case to go to arbitration if these lawsuits are not to be dismissed. Currently, the plaintiffs have yet to respond to these motions as they’re deciding whether to consolidate all other similar lawsuits in the pre-trial proceedings.

PCGamer - You can't sue us for making games 'too entertaining,' say major game developers in response to addiction lawsuits
About Lawsuits - Video Game Addiction Lawsuits Seek Damages From Microsoft, Google, Sony and Other Developers
Activision, Epic, Video Game Developers Face Addiction Suit 1
ABC News - Mom claims video game companies are intentionally addicting kids

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