Since 2020, Slater Vecchio LLP has filed class action litigation claims in British Columbia and Quebec against video game companies who sell “loot boxes”. A summary of these lawsuits can be found here: https://www.slatervecchio.com/class-action/loot-boxes-class-action/
A loot box is a game of chance inside a video game in which a player pays for a digital “roll of the dice” chance to obtain a randomized selection of virtual items, ranging from simple customization options for a player’s avatar or character, to game-changing equipment or additional avatars/characters which can enhance a player’s ability to beat others.
The first case to proceed to a certification hearing was Sutherland v Electronic Arts. This Sutherland case is a narrow claim that focuses on allegations that the defendants breached British Columbia’s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”). In reasons for judgment released on March 14, 2023 (Sutherland v Electronic Arts, 2023 BCSC 372), the BC Court found that the plaintiff’s claim discloses a viable cause of action under sections 4 and 5 of the Act, which prohibits deceptive acts and practices. Though the Court ruled in favour of the defendant’s argument that the s 8 unconscionability pleading was bound to fail with respect to pleading that loot boxes constitute unlawful gaming contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Court granted the Plaintiff leave to amend his notice of civil claim to plead material facts in support of the improvident bargain criteria of the unconscionability analysis. The BC Court left other matters for future decision after the parties provide additional submissions following this judgment.
Sam Jaworski, partner at Slater Vecchio LLP, said that “this decision is the first step towards addressing the legal issue of loot boxes in video games, and the negative effect it can have on consumers. This is likely to be a long road but is one in which we will continue to advance the interests of consumers.”
For further inquiries, please contact Sean Tweed at 604-629-7737 or [email protected].