In Hawaii this past week a man by the name of Craig Smallwood has filed a federal suit against NCSoft, publisher of the massively mulitplayer game Lineage II. He claims the game is responsible for causing an addiction so bad that it prevented him from performing normal everyday tasks, like bathing.
Mr. Smallwood claims he became addicted to the point where he was:
“… unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, and bathing or communicating with family and friends.”
Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know plenty of Americans who choose not to do many of these tasks without the aid of videogames. Smallwood claims the South Korean publisher should pay him monetary damages because they failed to warn him of the addictive nature of the game. He’s claims he clocked in over 20,000 hours playing Lineage II, which comes out to about 833 days or just over two years.
NCSoft is attempting to get the case thrown out, however U.S. District Judge Alan Kay has dismissed this motion which will probably result in this case going to trial. If this case does end up going to trial, and Smallwood wins, it could create an avalanche of negligence suits against MMORPG publishers from the millions of those who are already addicted to the games. Most likely what will happen is publishers of MMOs will just add warnings to their games to cover themselves legally.
Videogame addiction isn’t a new phenomenon and back in May we gave you a few examples on how the addiction can become dangerous. Even though we’re all addicted in some way or fashion, there are those who just can’t pull themselves away, and it will be a long time before we truly come up with a solution to this problem.
Lineage II is a PC game released in October of 2003 in South Korea and became a major hit. In April of the next year it was released in the U.S. where it got mixed reviews. While it didn’t get high praise the game still maintained a solid community, solid enough to keep the game going to this day and apparently make people addicted to the point where they seek legal council.
Ranters, how do you feel about this situation? Do you think Smallwood has a case, or do you think NCSoft will own him in court and loot his gold?
Source: Game Politics