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Loot boxes for video games
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Epic will settle a class action lawsuit over the use of random loot boxes in Fortnite's Save the World mode by paying affected players with in-game currency. Rocket League players who previously purchased Loot Crates in this game will also receive an in-game payment.
While Epic never offered loot boxes in Fortnite's popular Battle Royale mode, "Save the World" players were able to buy "Loot Lamas" full of random items until early 2019 (amid the international outcry about the randomized loot box business and its similarity to gambling). Shortly after training ended, Epic was faced with a class action lawsuit alleging, among other things, that it had "psychologically manipulated (d) its young players into believing they would be" lucky "".
As part of a proposed settlement for this suit, which Epic says has been tentatively approved, all players who have purchased a bag lama at any point will be rewarded with 1,000 V-Bucks (valued at approximately $ 8). Although it is a US lawsuit, this deal applies to all Fortnite players worldwide, according to Epic.
Rocket League players will also receive 1,000 credits (valued at approximately $ 9.10) if they purchase a random Event Crate or key in this game before Epic released it in October 2019 (just a few months after purchasing the Rocket League developer Psyonix) no longer offers. Players of both games don't need to do anything to claim the benefit, which will appear on their accounts in the coming days.
Epic estimates that around 6.5 million Fortnite players and 2.9 million Rocket League players will receive the automatic payments in virtual currency, according to The Verge. This suggests a rough valuation of over $ 78.3 million digital award payouts as part of the comparison. (To update: An epic spokesman made it clear to Ars Technica that these numbers only cover the US players who receive the digital currency payout. An unknown number of Fortnite players outside the US will also receive the 1,000 V-Bucks.)
However, the actual cost to Epic of the giveaway is likely to be much lower. The distribution of purely virtual currency has minimal direct costs for Epic and only indirect costs in the sense that it replaces the virtual currency purchases these players would have made anyway. Some expired players will not use their digital windfall at all while others would not have spent any extra money on the game regardless.
In some ways, the digital giveaway could even be seen as an effective advertisement that draws gamers back to the games and creates the potential for them to spend more on additional microtransactions later. In this sense, the deal is somewhat reminiscent of a Nintendo price-fixing case that the company settled with prosecutors in 1991. The payout was in the form of a $ 5 voucher that could only be redeemed by purchasing additional Nintendo products, and Nintendo is likely sad that it didn't come to its own.
In addition to virtual currency, Epic will provide "Fortnite and Rocket League Players Based in the United States" with up to $ 26.5 million in cash and other benefits to help settle claims. These cash payments (up to $ 50 per claimant) are only available to players who submit an active claim form showing that their purchase constitutes a "consumer fraud" or breach of contract. Minors in California who purchased a loot box "with their own money and without parental permission" are also eligible for a refund of up to $ 50 when making a claim.
"We believe players should know in advance what they will be paying for when they shop in-game," Epic wrote in a tweet announcing today's move. "For this reason, today we only offer X-ray Llamas that show you the contents before you buy it in Save the World" (and similar transparent blueprints in the Rocket League).
While some European countries have banned loot as a form of illegal gambling, legislative efforts to regulate the practice in some US states (and the US Senate) have by and large stalled after some momentum in 2018 and 2019 .