For one man, an addiction to playing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland was more important than maintaining his life, so the only natural recourse was to sue.
by Ed Button
Gamers enjoy countless hours being immersed in fantasy worlds where dragons fly around and destroy you, evil aliens need to be exterminated or they destroy you, and little turtle monks with lanterns will utterly destroy you. However, no matter how deep the immersion, one must always return to a real world of homework, jobs and reality in general.
That, however, wasn’t the case for one man, and he wants compensation. Russian news organization RT reports that a 28-year-old man is suing Fallout 4 creator Bethesda Studios, and the company that localized the game for Russia, for roughly $7,000 USD for emotional distress.
The man claims that he didn’t know how “addictive” the game would become, and he ended up playing it for nearly three weeks straight. In that three week span he says he lost his job after skipping work, his health deteriorated because he quit eating, sleeping and bathing, and eventually, his wife left him.
Now, people becoming “addicted”, if you will, to playing video games isn’t a new story. In fact, a number of people have even died because they didn’t take the time to do simple things like go to the bathroom, or eat decent food. The interesting thing with this case, however, is that there is no precedent in Russia for this type of case. The man’s lawyers are quoted as wanting to “see how far we can go”.
The man claims that he didn’t know how “addictive” the game would become, and he ended up playing it for nearly three weeks straight…eventually, his wife left him.
These days, cases like this wouldn’t fly in the USA. Most if not all computer software, including video games, now come with a EULA, or End User License Agreement. You may know it as “That annoying box I click ‘agree’ on so I can play my game, dammit”.
A majority of video game EULAs basically state, among other things, that you can not sue the developer of the game for any damages caused by playing that game, whether it’s blowing up your computer or blowing up your marriage.
Whether EULAs are a tool for good or evil is a discussion that’s up for debate, but there are certainly no shortage of peculiar EULA clauses, that much is for certain.
Ultimately, it makes just as much sense to sue Bethesda for the man ruining his life as it does suing fast food restaurants because you weigh too much. Or, for that matter, suing Victoria’s Secret because wearing their lingerie didn’t help you look like one of their models.
Instead of reassessing his life and wondering where he went wrong and working to fix it, it seems this poor bastard is attempting to take the easy route, blaming someone else for his mistakes. More importantly, if he ends up winning his case, it could set a dangerous precedent.
Blaming. Blaming never changes.
Ed Button is an award-winning broadcaster based out of West Plains, MO. You can find him on Twitter at @edb87.