Epic is set to decide a class action lawsuit over the use of randomized loot boxes in Fortnite“Save the World”
While Epic never offered loot boxes in Fortniteits mega-popular Battle Royale mode, let the “Save the World” players buy “loot llamas” full of random items until early 2019 (amid international outcry over the randomized loot-box business and its resemblance to gambling) . Shortly after the end of the exercise, Epic was faced with a class action lawsuit which, among other things, claimed that it had “psychologically manipulated[d] their young players to believe that they will ‘be lucky’. ”
During a proposed settlement for the suit, which Epic says has obtained preliminary approval, all players who have purchased a lootlama at any time will be rewarded with 1000 V-dollars (worth about $ 8). Although it decides a lawsuit in the US, Epic says that the same agreement will apply to everyone Fortnite players globally.
Rocket League Players will similarly receive 1000 credits (worth approximately $ 9.10) if they purchased a randomized Event Crate or key in that game before Epic stopped offering them in October 2019 (just months after it was purchased Rocket League develops Psyonix). Players from both games do not have to do anything to claim the benefit, which will appear on the accounts in the next few days.
A marketing coup?
Epic estimates about 6.5 million Fortnite players and 2.9 million Rocket League Players will receive automatic virtual currency payments, according to The Verge. It suggests a gross valuation of over $ 78.3 million in digital rewards payouts as part of the settlement.
The actual costs that Epic incurs for the distribution will probably end up much lower. Distributing the purely virtual currency entails minimal direct costs for Epic and constitutes only an indirect cost in the sense that it replaces the purchase of virtual currency that the players would have made anyway. Some lost players will not end up using their digital windfall at all, while others would not have spent extra money on the game anyway.
In a way, the digital giveaway can even be seen as an effective campaign, which lures players back to the games and creates the potential for them to spend more on extra microtransactions down the road. In that sense, the settlement is somewhat reminiscent of a Nintendo pricing case that the company settled with prosecutors in 1991. The payment there came in the form of a $ 5 coupon that could only be redeemed by purchasing additional Nintendo products, a marketing coup that Nintendo is probably sad that did not come up with himself.
In addition to the virtual currency, Epic will also offer “up to $ 26.5 million in cash and other benefits to US-based Fortnite and Rocket League players “to settle the claims. These cash payments (up to $ 50 per claimant) will only be available to players who submit an active form to establish that they believe their purchase constituted” consumer fraud “or breach of contract. California minors who purchased a loot box “with [their] own money and without parental permission “will also be eligible for a cash refund of up to $ 50 if they submit a claim.
“We believe players should know in advance what they are paying for when buying in-game,” Epic wrote in a tweet announcing the move today. “This is why today we only offer X – ray lamas that show you the contents before you buy them in” Save the World “” (and similar transparent drawings in Rocket League).
While some European countries have banned looting as a form of illegal gambling, legislative work to regulate the practice in some US states (and the US Senate) has largely stopped after gaining some momentum in 2018 and 2019.