Epic Settles Real Lawsuit With Fake Money

Epic Settles Real Lawsuit With Fake Money
Image: Epic Games
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Fortnite players who purchased one of Save The World’s randomised Loot Llamas will receive 1000 V-Bucks, developer Epic announced today. The move comes as part of a preliminary class action settlement regarding loot boxes.

“Whether you were a fan of random item Loot Llamas or not, with preliminary approval for a class action settlement, we’re awarding 1,000 V-Bucks to anyone that purchased a random Loot Llama,” Epic wrote. “While this settlement was for U.S. players only, we have decided to make this benefit available to players globally. There’s no action needed on your part, and you should receive your V-Bucks within the next few days.”

Rocket League players who purchased an event crate or key will receive 1,000 Rocket League credits as part of the same settlement. Epic purchased Rocket League developer Psyonix in 2019.

The move is in response to a class-action lawsuit in the Superior Court of North Carolina, which is not yet officially settled, The Verge reported. The Verge writes that “the proposed settlement also provides up to $US26.4 ($33) million in additional cash and other benefits for Fortnite and Rocket League players” who feel they suffered additional legal harm from the games’ loot boxes. Eligible players include minors in California who used their own money to purchase loot boxes, as well as U.S.-based Fortnite or Rocket League players more broadly. In each case, players could be entitled to up to either $US50 ($63) or their Rocket League or Fortnite currency equivalents. Players can learn more about their options at a class action suit site linked in Epic’s announcement.

Epic changed up Save the World’s Loot Llamas in early 2019, making their contents visible before purchase rather than forcing players to purchase them without knowing what was inside. In August of that year, Psyonix announced a similar change to Rocket League’s loot boxes, which it released at the end of 2019. All of this was part of an expanding conversation around the mechanics of loot boxes, which drew ire over Star Wars Battlefront II’s boxes, companies disclosing loot box odds, and the ESRB eventually adding a rating for games with in-game purchases. Some lawmakers began adding legislation that would categorise loot boxes as gambling. Similar conversations took place in Belgium, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

“We stopped offering random item loot boxes like Fortnite Loot Llamas and Rocket League Crates because we realised that some players were repeatedly disappointed by not receiving the random items they hoped for,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney told The Verge. “Players should know upfront what they are paying for when they make in-game purchases.”

Comments

  • This is just like the Nintendo price fixing lawsuit that forced them to give $5 vouchers to customers. It wasn’t a punishment, it drove their sales through the roof and helped the SNES become the juggernaut it was in the US.

    Epic didn’t lose, here.

    • Literally no different to a, ‘lure returning players’ campaign. They’re going to drive up player counts by meeting their legal obligations. Impressively and unsurprisingly self-serving while pretending the opposite. Epic really is the gold double standard.

    • Interesting, there is some legalese behind this. The payment is in response to a class action in the US, and issued as an elective customer credit globally.

      Depending in the region and laws, a recipient can refuse “store credit” and request a return of initial funds (ie I am taking my business elsewhere) on the condition they are cutting ties with that business.

      • The voluntary payment is probably a cheap way to cover themselves on future international suits because they can say the players accepted the money so they have no recourse.

        Even if they do have to honour the “no I want it in cash because I’m leaving” clause, there’s nothing to say they are going to make it convenient. People are going to look at the hoops to jump for the equivalent of $15 and realise it isn’t worth it.

        Epic’s lawyers are both incredibly good at their jobs and incredibly scummy. This is a hell of a win for Epic.

  • Typical Epic behaviour, smiling and shaking your hand with one hand and picking your pocket with the other. By giving everyone virtual currency they don’t lose any real money and encourage people to spend money because they’re getting stuff for free anyway so the overall perceived value is more.

    You might argue that Epic is losing money by giving away free currency but it’s that same grey area as whether pirated games are really lost sales mixed with a heaping helping of typical gacha game psychology. (For those that don’t play gacha games, they always have some kind of giveaway event going to a) encourage people to keep playing, and b) encourage people to spend more since they’re getting so much for free)

    • Not to mention that many/most skin packs etc cost just a bit more than 1000 vbucks, so recipients have to either spend more, wait for a perfect price item, or spend less and have left-over currency that requires buying/earning even more vbucks to add up to another item’s price.

      It’s a big part of why having store currencies (like the xbox live marketplace) was so scummy and I vaguely recall possibly even legally dubious (at least when it came to buying full games, rather than cosmetics within a game).

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