Guy Sues Online Game Company NCSoft, Saying That Lineage II Is Too Addictive

from the personal-responsibility? dept

Apparently, a federal district court is allowing a guy to sue NCSoft for making the super popular online game Lineage II too addictive. Seriously:
Craig Smallwood, the plaintiff, claims NCsoft of South Korea should pay unspecified monetary damages because of the addictive nature of the game. Smallwood claims to have played Lineage II for 20,000 hours between 2004 and 2009. Among other things, he alleges he would not have begun playing if he was aware "that he would become addicted to the game."

Smallwood, who did not immediately respond for comment, alleged that the company "acted negligently in failing to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game."
This sounds like the sort of case that should be easily dismissed, but not so fast according to the judge. You can read the judge's full ruling here:
Reading through the details, the story just gets more and more bizarre. Not only does Smallwood claim that NCSoft failed to alert him to the addictive nature of the game... he also gets upset when he was later banned from the game. It's difficult to see how both of those issues can co-exist, though, he uses it to explain how the "addiction" and the sudden forced cold turkey cut-off meant that he was "unable to function independently, he has suffered psychological trauma, he was hospitalized, and he requires treatment and therapy three times a week."

Of course, we still haven't seen any evidence that video games create a real addiction issue. Yes, people can get very into games, but to the point of being "unable to function independently" seems a bit extreme. Anyway, the court does dismiss some of the claims, pointing out that he fails to make the case for "intentional misrepresentation," "negligent misrepresentation," "intentional infliction of emotional distress" and "unfair and deceptive trade practices." However, the court does find that Smallwood can at least move forward on claims of "defamation," "negligence and gross negligence," and "negligent infliction of emotional distress," though the judge still does sound a bit skeptical that those will really go anywhere.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    known coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    so if the game was crappy

    He would have no case?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    All your life are belong to us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    MarksAngel (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    I know about 11 million wow players who would like to get in on this action, who is this guys lawyer?

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    Playing of Gekkeiju Onlineā„¢, the free-to-play Online Role-playing game, can cause: alcoholism, retardness, bad grades at school, addiction, satanism, communism, anti-americanism, cross dressing, alcoholism, cancer, internal bleeding, starvation, forest fires, plagiarism, vegetarism, loss of mental health, alcoholism, impotence, long and painful death, sister complex, apathy, retardness, epilepsy, fatness, lazyness, inflation, gender confusion, global warming, sarcasm, geekiness, miscarriages, bad spelling, boredom, global catastrophes, pastafarism, child labor, slavery, brainwashing and general failure in life.

    Awesome....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Bryan, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    but...you only listed alcoholism twice...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    Well, I didn't list it at all, the game's creators did, but they also managed to get retardness (whatever that is) in there twice as well....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Danny, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    I can imagine a game being addictive when thinking about those few extreme stories where people die from exhaustion from playing for several days straight, the occasional person that falls into depression because of something that happened in game, or even someone being killed because they took the game too far (in fact didn't a kid kill himself because of something that happened to his character in an MMO a few years ago or what that an urban legend?).

    However this isn't 1950. Its not like such things are a well hidden secret (like how the tobacco industry denied the damaging effects of smoking for decades).

    I really do feel sorry for him and his situation but I think he's going to have a hard time trying to hold NCSoft responsible for this. (It would be like someone who has been smoking for 5 years trying to sue because they developed throat cancer).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    I must play this game...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mark B (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Save me from myself society

    This just goes to show how encouraging a save me from myself society works. Oh I spilled hot coffee on myself, lets sue McDonalds for not telling me that the hot coffee was hot. Oh I shot myself in the foot lets sue Colt or WalMart for not telling me to not load then point it at my foot and pull the trigger.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    All you've described is "unhealthily obsessive people find and outlet for their obsession".

    I have no idea how you are so supposed to hold NCSoft responsible for that. Oh, I know:

    "Shame on you for not providing medical counselling for each and every one of your players. You should have known that 1/1000000 people would take your game as Srs Bsns."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    I just remoted into my home computer and installed the client so I can play it when I get home (see? Even my dumb ass can do something kinda cool once in a while....).

    There's a wiki page for free MMO games, and I also came across this gem: http://www.nationstates.net

    I'm going through the FAQ now, but it looks pretty sweet!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Do the math

    2004-2009 is a six year span, assuming he started in Jan 04 and ended in Dec 09.

    20,000 hours / 6 years / 365 days = 9.13 hours per day, every single day for those six years.

    Yes, I would say that this guy's ability to function was lost.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Danny, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh I agree. Which is why I say that while I feel sorry for the guy I don't think he's going to be able to get NCSoft to foot the bill for him on this one.

    That's why I mentioned smoking. If this were say 1995 when there might have been 2 major MMOs on the market and no one really knew about them yes MAYBE he would have an argument but these days you can't help but trip over an ad for some MMO or another. Just like smoking. I'll have more sympathy for a person that's been smoking since the 40's before the real damage of smoking was widely known than someone who just started 5 years ago.

     

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  15.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Do the math

    Weekends can easily mean 20 to 30 hours of play alone - been there done that with Asheron's Call myself. Another 8+ hours after work is not uncommon with a TV in the same room - you're just multitasking*. While not as extreme I personally spent 6 full months+ of my life playing this game over a nine year period. It was entertainment and I never considered suing someone since I personally made a conscious decision each every time I logged into the server.

    * This really does become the thought pattern - "I'd just be up watching TV anyway but now I get to play a game too!"

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    enassty, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    WOW

    this guy is a real jerk. Firstly his claim that he would not have played the game had he known it was addictive is insanity. if he had ever played a video game and enjoyed it then he would know that could happen and thus making it his fualt. if he had never played any games before lineage II then in this case there is no way that NCsoft was supposed to know that he would enjoy this game so much that he would get addicted thus making it impossible for them to disclose this as a possible outcome from gameplay. second of all if there was a disclaimer it would say" game responsibly or play at your own risk" and this gets to the point that this guy just legally acknowledged his immaturity. Its not NCsofts fault your a child and cant control yourself. Finnally its disgusting that someone who obviously plays games would intentionally go out of their way to damage a great company who makes quality games. @ Craig, grow the f**k up and take responsibilty for yourself. Maybe you should consider taking up smoking ciggerettes. atleast then when you smoke for a few years and realize that you just dont want to quite because of the addiction you'll be filing a suit against a company that is hurting people instead of entertaining them.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    CustomPCMAX, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Personal Responsibility is Cool

    I wish people would take a little personal responsibility for their own lives. Seriously, millions of people play MMOs (and other games) and lead totally productive and normal lives. Because this lazy fuck can't function like a normal individual is irritating to say the least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    Claiming to cause Pastafarianism is fantastic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    Could I hold them to that claim? I was expecting Noodly Appendages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Richard, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 4:17pm

    Listen, this is no laughing matter. Linage II addiction is a very real disease. It destroys family and harms innocent children. I could tell you about my life, and the tragedy that Linage II inflicted on me. I could tell you about the endless days spent in the gutter, leveling up my Light Elf, or the endless nights spent walking the streets, doing anything for my subscription fees... but ..... OH GOD It's too painful to talk about.

    In the end, I was totally out of control, I knew I hit rock bottom when my box mate kicked me out onto the ally... I had to take action, and so, I deleted my character (Elf up) and with him, went all of my daemons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: From free MMORPG Gekkeiju Online's registration page:

    I've been a Pastafarian for years, Mon.

    CBMHB

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    u.cant.win, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    I feel for the guy

    I played lineage for 3 years on an average 13 hours a day on a net cafe nearby my house. Me and 4 more people had actually a little room, initially was built for storage purposes but they transformed it for us (me and 3 other guys) since we were their best customers, to a sleeping room. One day i had an almost non-stop 26 hour gaming session drinking red-bulls and eating from the vending machine with just toilet breaks which were absolutely pissing me off because going to toiled, having to eat and drink was an utter waste of time in my eyes at that time. I was the 3rd highest lvl Nelf Silver-Ranger in the largest Greek server (still i cant believe how many hours no.1 was playing) Truth is the game has a devastating effect on my life and i did reach point that i was day or night dreaming bout the game when i had to get some sleep (another big waste of time i thought). Nevertheless i dont blame the game or the company like i would not blame drug suppliers if i would be addicted on drugs. It was my choice. Anything that can be abused can be addictive. Ancient Greeks used to say "Pan metron ariston" meaning "Everything is good in good measure"

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

    Maybe that's why I've only played single-player games. The addiction can only last as long as it takes you to complete the game a couple times, before you get bored with it and start looking for something else to play.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    functioned quite well for 20,000 hrs

    So if he stopped playing and now can't function. Obviously he needs to start playing again to function.

     

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  25.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 20th, 2010 @ 11:30pm

    Re:

    Ditto...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    TV Addict, Aug 21st, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Need Lawyer

    HBO has too much quality content and is on 24/7. I want to sue them because not once have they made a disclaimer that their service is addictive. I watched HBO daily for 10 hours a day for the past 10 years. I lost my job because I kept calling in so I could watch HBO (I could DVR, but I could not wait because of my addiction, and if I DVR it I would be missing what was on HBO while I watch what I recorded).

    Because of my addiction to HBO content I was unable to search for a new job. Eventually my unemployment ran out and my cable got shut off. Now I am unable to function at all and have suffered devastating mental trauma.

    Please, we need to set an example here. We must force all content that is remotely interesting to anyone to display huge and intrusive warnings and pay me a few million in punitive damages on top of actual damages. And a free lifetime subscription to HBO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Etch, Aug 22nd, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Class Action Lawsuit!

    If he had a sex life, this wouldn't be an issue.
    Therefore, he should raise a class action lawsuit against all Women for gross negligence of video game nerds. If he wins, that would mean that all women will be required to sleep with at least 1 video game nerd to save them from this addiction.
    I'll be the first in line baby...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Etch, Aug 22nd, 2010 @ 7:01am

    Class Action Lawsuit!

    If he had a sex life, this wouldn't be an issue.
    Therefore, he should raise a class action lawsuit against all Women for gross negligence of video game nerds. If he wins, that would mean that all women will be required to sleep with at least 1 video game nerd to save them from this addiction.
    I'll be the first in line baby...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    IronGator (profile), Aug 22nd, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Wrong Lawsuit

    I have to agree with L2 being addictive as having had 6 accounts for 5 years myself. But NCSoft is not to blame for that. If blame must be placed it should be on how NCSoft operated the game. The amount of playtime required to level up was physically impossible for most humans, which is why at one point 80% of all players were "Bots" on the game. Having a real job, I could only play 3-5 hours a day so "botted" the remaining hours. The only 2 probs with that was the actual $$$ spent(accounts, bots, gil) and the fact that NCSoft knew and loved the bots(2-10 extra monthly subscription fee's) but if anyone didn't like you ingame they could report you and all your accounts would be banned. Simply put, Lineage2 is not a game for the occasional player, you must be either an Extreme Hardcore gamer or else be willing to blow a TON of $$$ to keep up in the game. Neither option is good for your real life. I can look back and see how stupid I was now, but it all made perfect sense when I was an L2 addict.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    james, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    free online games

    This article is amazing as it helps me to get the sort of information was needed by me. I am thankful to get your article when was searching free online games

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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