Game Companies Facing Legal Challenges

Game Companies Facing Legal Challenges

( – An Atlanta-based law firm is helping parents target a number of multiplayer video game platforms that specifically market their products to children and teens. Bullock Ward Mason (BWM) alleges that the developers and publishers of popular titles like Fortnite, Roblox, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto deliberately design games to foster addiction while exploiting minors through manipulative micro-transactions.

In an exclusive interview, BWM’s COO Tina Bullock told Axios her firm is helping parents and other interested parties file suit against “just about everything that you can think of that is a multiplayer game.” While she did not specify exactly which platforms fall under this very broad umbrella, a class-action suit filed by Raymond and Laura Noel against Roblox Corporation on February 16 appears to be the most recent example.

Noel et al. vs. Roblox Corporation, which lists BWM as counsel to the plaintiffs, claims that Roblox’s success is built on the company’s willingness to take advantage of their own user base, which reportedly includes up to 75% of all children ages 9 to 12 in the US. It also accuses the company of systematically exploiting kids by exposing them to “unsafe, unregulated, and grotesque virtual experiences,” predatory advertising, and practices designed to promote gaming addiction.

The plaintiffs take particular issue with Roblox’s economic model, which centers around “Robux,” a digital currency that can be exchanged for real-world dollars. Users, including children, earn digital currency by creating user-generated content or by developing games that run within the virtual world.

But as Noel and BWM point out in their lawsuit, Roblox places severe restrictions on users’ ability to profit from their contributions. Strict conditions, such as a greatly devalued conversion rate between Robux and USD, a substantial minimum balance requirement, and mandatory subscription fees, make it extremely difficult for anyone to reap the financial benefits.

The lawsuit also draws attention to the fact that kids who play Roblox are often exposed to age-inappropriate experiences. Roblox Corporation maintains that its community standards and moderation practices effectively address such concerns.

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