Epic Games to resolve Fortnite loot box lawsuits in V-Bucks

Epic Games will give you Fortnite 1,000 V-Bucks players if they have ever purchased an in-game loot box, featured in-game as “loot flames” containing random items, as part of a proposed class action settlement to be approved later this week.

While FortniteThe popular Battle Royale mode has never contained random loot boxes, the game’s cooperative survival mode, “Save the World”, did, at least until 2019, when Epic changed their loot box system to allow players to see the item inside before you buy it. .

Now, anyone who bought a random loot box prior to its discontinuation will have the 1,000 V-Bucks (roughly $ 8) automatically deposited into their accounts for the next two to three days. The decision is part of a larger move by Epic to settle the blind robbery loot box lawsuits it has faced in recent years.

In this case, the developer received confirmation from a judge of preliminary approval for its class action settlement in North Carolina Superior Court on Monday, so Epic says it will begin distributing the rewards today. The move is unusual in that class action settlements generally require claimants to file claims in order to receive benefits. But Epic says it is handing out benefits early because it feels its current loot box position is correct, and that its players are owed something for buying random games in the past.

“On the one hand, it’s the right thing to do and we’re convinced by the random item loot boxes. And two, we feel good about the deal, ”said Jeffrey Jacobson, a partner at the Faegre Drinker law firm representing Epic. The edge In an interview. “We hope our players agree with us.” A final approval hearing is scheduled for May, and attorneys representing both Epic and the plaintiffs hope the settlement will be approved as is.

Epic says that while the deal affects only US players, it is deciding to award the 1,000 V-Bucks to all US players. Fortnite globally, provided they have purchased at least one of their random loot llamas. The proposed agreement also includes Rocket league Players who purchased in-game items such as event boxes or keys to open in-game loot boxes, and affected players will receive 1,000 credits that will be distributed automatically this week similarly. Acquired epic Rocket league developer Psyonix in 2019.

Epic says that regarding the scope of the US deal, the profit from V-Bucks will go to 6.5 million players who purchased a Random Item Loot Llama at Fortnite and 2.9 million Rocket league players who bought an event box or a key that was used to open a box.

“We stopped offering loot boxes of random items like Fortnite Plunder flames and Rocket league Crates because we found that some players were repeatedly disappointed by not receiving the random items they were expecting, “said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney in a statement to The edge Monday. “Players should know in advance what they are paying for when they make in-game purchases.”

The proposed settlement also provides up to $ 26.4 million in additional cash and other benefits for Fortnite Y Rocket league players “to resolve claims arising out of player’s loot box purchases,” in other words, refunds on previous purchases that go beyond standard settlement terms. This group includes attorneys’ fees for both parties, according to Epic. But the preliminary settlement also includes a provision that would allow players who think they are subject to legal damages as part of random loot box purchases to claim money back.

This group of benefits is available to minors in California who used their own money, and not the money of a parent or guardian, to purchase loot boxes from Epic, qualifying them for benefits under the state’s contract defiance law. . Also includes any US Fortnite or Rocket league player who believes they are subject to legal damages, such as fraud, when purchasing random loot boxes from Epic. In each case, a player can submit a claim for investigation by a neutral administrator, with a possible reward of up to $ 50 in refunds.

For non-minors who file claims related to legal damages, Epic will award up to $ 50 or 13,500 V-Bucks (or 13,000 Rocket league credits) based on the claimant’s preferred benefit, if the claim is approved. US residents who believe they are entitled to these extra benefits can submit claims at www.epiclootboxsettlement.com, which Epic launched Monday afternoon.

Epic stopped selling random loot boxes in 2019, replacing what were once “V-Buck Llamas” with “X-Ray Llamas” in From Fortnite “Save the world” game mode. At the time, these blind flames ran users 50 V-Bucks (around 50 cents at the time) and contained a random assortment of skins, weapons, or other loot. Later that year, Rocket league It also removed loot boxes, months after Epic acquired its creator Psyonix. According to Jacobson, Epic’s attorney, the class action settlement is “an exclamation point about a position that we first announced two years ago.”

Loot boxes have come under fire from legislators and regulators around the world who claim that selling random opportunities on rare or coveted items in the game is akin to gambling. Especially concerning to critics of the practice is that many of the players who engage with loot box systems are children, sometimes using their own money but often with access to a parent or guardian’s credit card.

Many of the biggest games of the last decade, including entries on Electronic Arts’ FIFA franchise and Blizzard’s Supervision, blindly sells loot boxes for real money, and the trading practice has proved lucrative for game developers. In some cases, game companies make more money from in-game microtransactions, such as loot boxes, than from direct game sales.

In 2018, Belgium ruled that random loot boxes constituted illegal gambling and were subject to the country’s gambling law, forcing many prominent developers to suspend the practice in the country or modify the way they allow gamers. Players buy and spend money in the game at low risk. of heavy fines.

Although the US has laws on online gambling, it does not consider loot boxes as such, which means that many games continue to offer them in the US Bills have been introduced in Congress, such as the Act Protection of Children from Abusive Games, proposed by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), but none has been approved.

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