Can Epic Games really pay off a lawsuit with freebies on players’ accounts?
Loot boxes have created a lot of strife in the gaming community. At first it was just an annoying microtransaction that may not be worth the cost to players, but eventually a bigger issue was revealed. Loot boxes by nature are a bit of a risk – you pay a set amount of real life money and then you receive digital goodies in a game.
However, the prizes you earn range from practically worthless to semi-worth it with very few rare expectations of players earning in-game items that are actually worth the price or more. This raised concerns over gambling for many people – especially parents whose credit cards were being stolen by their game loving children.
In most countries around the world (if not all) minors aren’t allowed to gamble, and in a few countries gambling is completely illegal no matter what. Due to the uncertain nature of loot boxes and the payment of real currency games quickly found themselves under fire for encouraging children to gamble. Epic Games is one of the companies that ended up in hot water – here’s what’s happening now.
Epic Games didn’t create the loot box, but they did utilize the concept. Both in the Save the World mode in Fortnite and in Rocket League when they purchased the development company Psyonix – the creators of Rocket League.
Shortly after the internet seemed to unanimously declare a hatred & moral dislike of loot boxes Epic Games began removing them from their two games, however it wasn’t fast enough. A class action lawsuit was organized with Epic Games as the defendant.
In the end, Epic Games lost the lawsuit and is expected to provide payments to anyone who purchased loot boxes.
Here’s the thing though – Epic Games will mostly be sending people in-game currency. Any accounts that purchased loot boxes in either Fortnite or Rocket League will receive either 1,000 VBucks or 1,000 credits in each respective game. The real-life monetary value of these payments are about $8.00 & $9.10.
It’s worth noting that this is a proposed settlement and that while it has been given preliminary approval this is subject to change.
There is a way to receive a real monetary payment if you paid for loot boxes in either of these games. However, you must fill out a form – these claims are open to anyone, including minors, and each individual will be eligible for a payment of up to $50, with a maximum total of $26.5 million in payouts.
Slap on the wrist
This means that Epic Games could end up paying less than the approximately $26 million in damages because it is entirely reliant upon people knowing about the form, taking the time to fill it out, and hopefully filling it out correctly. Most people with Epic Games accounts likely won’t know about the form. Others may not deem $50 enough of a reason to take the time to fill out the form.
The digital payments will automatically be given to any and all accounts that purchased loot boxes (in the U.S. and outside of it) through either Fortnite or Rocket League – game players won’t have to do anything to receive them. However, this payout doesn’t exactly hurt Epic Games at all. The currency is fake and the items users can buy with the currencies are also digital.
This means that Epic Games are practically giving out “good vibes” as payment. In fact, this payment encourages users to play the games and possibly spend more money on the games. 1,000 VBucks do not go very far in Fortnite which means that users will potentially have to supplement the amount with their own cash to buy something they want.
It may also incite a few people to log back into their Epic Games accounts that they haven’t used for a while, and dormant accounts who receive the in-game currencies certainly won’t affect Epic Games one way or another.