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.

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  1. identicon
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