Epic Games faces lawsuit over virtual “loot boxes” with hidden rewards

Ben Sersen, REPORTER

  Epic Games has faced deep water with legal issues in their battle with Apple towards their “mistreatment” on the IOS app store as well as challenging Apple’s 30 percent revenue cut that Apple takes on each purchase (via Epic Games).

     The creators of the popular games “Fortnite” and “Rocket League,” among a plethora of others, faced resistance after speaking out about their harsh treatment on the app store as Fortnite was taken off of the App Store for apple device users soon after the court case was settled.

     Epic Games once again arose in heat of controversy as they became victims of the court to a large settlement to compensate the users who spent money on “hidden” loot boxes (boxes in which the prize is not shown until after purchase) after ‘X-ray Llamas’ were added allowing the user the view the contents of their loot box.   

      In a poll including over 150 North Harford students, exactly 50 percent claimed they had played one of the games being refunded (Rocket League or Fortnite: Save the World), and 70 percent of players who had selected yes had also reported spending money on virtual currency in-game for cosmetic items. 

     Garrett Heffner, junior, claimed “If not [including] the money I spent to buy the game, I bought 1,000 v-bucks and that was about $10” when asked about his spending on the virtual currency. The student also stated that Epic Games “should have refunded at least half” of purchases made towards the game.

     A class action settlement with Epic Games has received preliminary approval from the Superior Court of North Carolina. Under the settlement, all U.S. players of Fortnite: Save the World and Rocket League who bought a random item loot box in either game before Epic Games discontinued them will receive certain benefits immediately and automatically. 

     The settlement also provides up to $26.5 million in cash and other benefits to the U.S.-based Fortnite and Rocket League players to resolve claims arising from players’ purchases of Fortnite and Rocket League in-game items (via Epic Games).

     Players of the virtual games will be rewarded with 1,000 V-bucks (Epic games version of an in-game currency) as we know due to Epic games releasing a statement claiming “Whether you were a fan of random Loot Llamas or not, with preliminary approval for a class action settlement, we’re awarding 1,000 V-bucks to anyone that purchased a random Loot Llama.”

    “While this settlement was for U.S. players only, we have decided to make this benefit available to players globally. There is no action needed on your part, and you should receive your V-Bucks within the next few days.” (statement released on Feb. 22) (Limit one redemption per account).

     @FortniteGame on Twitter released a statement claiming “We believe players should know upfront what they are paying for when they make in-game purchases. This is why today we only offer X-Ray Llamas that show you the contents before you purchase them in Save the World” in response to sharing the settlement news on Twitter earlier the same day.