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Lawsuit Targets Epic’s ‘Predatory’ Loot Boxes in ‘Fortnite’

lawsuit filed Thursday against Epic Games accuses the publisher of perfecting a “predatory scheme” through enticing players to purchase loot boxes.

Loot boxes are virtual containers filled with in-game items that are randomized in value. In the case of this lawsuit, the Llamas of “Fortnite” are the target because the plaintiff, a minor and his father, Steve Altes, are accusing Epic of misrepresenting the chances of getting valuable items in the Llamas. Specifically, the lawsuit document states that Epic preyed on minors hoping to get lucky with the purchase of a Llama, despite the chances of receiving valuable items being very low.

“Rising to the forefront in a multi-billion-dollar video game industry, Epic has perfected a predatory scheme whereby it exploits players, including minors, by inducing them to purchase in-game loot boxes in the pursuit of the best in-game item schematics, heroes, and survivors (collectively, ‘loot’),” according to the court documents.

Epic Games did away with blind loot box purchases in January, opting to allow players to see exactly what’s offered with a Llama purchase beforehand. The Llamas then refresh daily, meaning there’s less of a chance that players will be tempted to purchase the seen Llama in order to “gamble” on what’s next up, since they can wait to see what’s available the next day for free and they can no longer purchase multiple Llamas at once.

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This change came after last year’s vow from Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons to investigate video game loot boxes.

Of course, the lawsuit focuses on past damages from the loot boxes. However, it also does not seem to acknowledge the recent changes Epic Games made to its loot boxes.

“Since discovering Epic’s material misrepresentation and omissions, Plaintiff R.A. has ceased to purchase any further Llamas from Epic,” the court document stated, R.A. being the lawsuit’s unidentified minor. “However, if Epic changed its practices so as to comply with the law, Plaintiff R.A. would consider purchasing Llamas in the future.”

While the document references “the law,” no US regulations as of yet have specifically addressed loot boxes.

Epic Games did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has landed in hot water for legal issues. The company had a number of celebrities complain over its use of dances as emotes in “Fortnite”. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro was one such plaintiff who filed a lawsuit, but was subsequently denied a copyright for his “Carlton” dance.

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