Epic Games, Inc. is a major player in the electronic game industry. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that it uses “a predatory scheme” to get more money out of players, particularly minors. The complaint claims that Epic offers players a lower up-front price for participation in one of its games but then entices them to make in-game purchases by making it difficult or impossible for them to win without them.
The class for this action is all persons in California who, within the statute of limitations, bought a Llama with V-Bucks bought with money in Fortnite Save the World.
At issue is the Epic game in the Fortnite series Save the World. The plaintiff is a minor child, represented by his guardian. According to the complaint, “Epic offers Fornite Save the World at a lower price point than competitor video games to entice players to start playing its game…”
As they play the game, players are offered various kinds of “loot,” or in-game purchases that add to their abilities in the game. (The loot is purchased with a virtual currency called V-Bucks, but V-Bucks are purchased with real money.) The complaint says, “Epic designed Fortnite Save the World to effectively limit a player’s ability to progress within the game without spending money on loot boxes.”
Unfortunately, the complaint claims, “many of these in-game purchases are marketed through material misrepresentations and omissions which lure minors and other players into making repeated purchase, without receiving the promised loot.”
One of these kinds of purchases is a loot box known as a Llama. The complaint charges, “Purchasing a Llama is like playing a slot machine. Llamas contain ‘randomized’ loot for use in the Fortnite game.” It alleges that players are lured into making repeated Llama purchases, hoping for better loot, when in reality the chance of getting really good loot in a Llama is very small.
Nor does Epic publicize how small the chances are. The complaint says, “Epic intentionally obscures the infinitesimal odds of winning sought-after rare loot in its Llamas, luring players into making more purchases on the off-chance that the next Llama will contain the rare item they are seeking.”
This is particularly true of Upgrade Llamas, which Epic advertises as having a “high chance to upgrade.” In fact, the complaint says, “far more times than not, the Upgrade Llama will not ‘upgrade.’”
The complaint alleges violations of various California consumer protection laws, among other things.