(CBC/CNN) – We all know video games can be fun to play, but are they addictive?
That’s what parents in Canada are claiming about the popular game Fortnite, and they want the company behind it to pay up.
Montreal-based law firm Calex Légal is representing parents who claim their two children are addicted to the game.
The law firm claims Fortnite is so addictive that it wants to launch a class-action lawsuit against Fortnite developer Epic Games, based on similar arguments leveled against the tobacco industry.
"They should have warned people that their game was addictive," said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, an attorney with Calex Légal.
"They consulted with psychologists. They spent years perfecting their game, studying human behavior, human brain, to make it as addictive as possible."
CBC reports the legal notice filed by the firm compares Fortnite to cocaine, because it releases dopamine in the brains of young players, making them dependent on the game.
Epic Games’ terms of service include a class-action waiver provision, but Calex Légal believes it still has a good case in Quebec.
"That type of clause is not a clause that's legal in Quebec,” Chartrand said.
The law firm can’t say how much money it would seek. It’s waiting for a judge to rule on the class-action request.
In June, the World Health Organization listed “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition, which is “characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
The WHO said only a small portion of the population is affected by the disorder.