A Controller's Grip: Lawsuit Claims Microsoft and Nintendo Designed Games to Hook Players, Not Entertain Them

Class action lawsuit claims Microsoft & Nintendo prioritize profit over player health

Young Adult's Addiction Fuels Legal Battle Against Gaming Giants

A young adult's struggle with video game addiction has ignited a legal battle against industry giants. Andrew Sayers, 23, has filed a class action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., Nintendo of America Inc., and Rockstar Games Inc., accusing them of intentionally designing addictive games that prioritize profit over player well-being.

Sayers' lawsuit paints a concerning picture. He claims his fascination with titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto began at the age of 10. However, this initial spark allegedly morphed into a compulsive habit, with Sayers spending 5-9 hours daily engrossed in these virtual worlds.

Sayers' addiction spirals from entertainment to compulsion

The complaint details the detrimental effects this addiction has had on Sayers' life. His academic performance reportedly plummeted, with declining grades and difficulty focusing in school. The constant stimulation from video games is also alleged to have contributed to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. 

Sayers further claims his pre-existing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) worsened due to his gaming habits. The lawsuit specifies that the severity of these consequences necessitated outpatient counseling and private tutoring.

Microtransactions and manipulation in the crosshairs

But what exactly fuels this alleged addictive quality in these games, according to Sayers? The lawsuit points a finger at the video game industry's monetization schemes, particularly microtransactions. 

These in-game purchases, often priced at low individual amounts, entice players to spend repeatedly for virtual items or boosts that accelerate their progress. 

Sayers argues that these microtransactions are strategically designed to extend playtime and manipulate dopamine levels, creating a cycle of engagement that prioritizes profit over responsible gaming practices.

Furthermore, the lawsuit highlights the alleged targeting of minors and young adults by the video game industry. Sayers claims these demographics are particularly susceptible to the manipulative tactics embedded within the games and monetization schemes. These practices, the lawsuit argues, ultimately aim to maximize playtime and in-game purchases, resulting in significantly bolstered profits for the game developers at the expense of players' well-being.

Sayers asserts various claims against Microsoft, Nintendo, and Rockstar Games, including negligence, strict liability, fraudulent misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Not an isolated case: Other lawsuits target gaming industry practices

Sayers' lawsuit joins a growing trend of legal action against video game companies. Last month, plaintiff Carey Courtwright brought a class action lawsuit against Epic Games and Roblox on behalf of her and her 12-year old child who she claims became addicted to games like Roblox and Minecraft. 

In February, a similar class action lawsuit alleged that Roblox exploits its young users who create content for the platform, essentially working for little to no real-world compensation.

Sayers is represented by Paul W. Painter III of Bowen Painter Trial Lawyers, Tina Bullock of Bullock Ward Mason LLC and Richard Meadow of The Meadow Law Firm LLC.

The Nintendo and Microsoft video gaming addiction class action lawsuit is Andrew Sayers v. Microsoft Corp., et al., Case No. 4:24-cv-00078, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division.



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