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Epic Games settles Fortnite loot box lawsuit with V-bucks

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As part of a class action lawsuit settlement, Epic Games will credit 1,000 V-bucks to anyone who previously purchased a randomized loot box (that is, a Loot Llama) in Fortnite, The Verge reports.

In a blog post, Epic says that while the settlement applies to US players, the company is extending the offer to any player across the globe. Epic says players will receive their free V-bucks “within the next few days.”

Fortnite’s immensely popular battle royale mode never contained randomized loot boxes, but the original Save the World mode did until 2019, when Epic changed the system to always reveal the Llama’s contents prior to purchase. Purchases of those X-ray Llamas don’t qualify players for the 1,000 V-buck offer. Only those who purchased one or more Loot Llamas before that change will receive the credit.

The class action lawsuit alleged that these loot boxes violated state laws and “misrepresented the value of its in-game items.” By agreeing to this settlement—which hasn’t gotten final approval from the court just yet, although it’s expected to—Epic isn’t agreeing with the lawsuit’s claims or admitting any wrongdoing. Rather, both parties have “determined that it is in their best interests to settle this case to avoid the expenses and uncertainties associated with litigation,” according to a website set up by the settlement coordinator.

Epic is also happy to say that it doesn’t like loot boxes anyway, and is glad to have removed them from Fortnite before this suit. The company also cut paid, randomized loot boxes from Rocket League, a game it purchased (with developer Psyonix) in 2019.

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

As part of the settlement, Epic is also giving Rocket League players 1,000 in-game Credits if they previously purchased loot crate keys or event crates in that game. 

The proposed settlement additionally provides up to $26.4 million in cash. A large part of that is expected to go to legal fees, but it will also be used to address claims from players who say they were harmed as a result of loot box purchases.

Fortnite players over the age of 18 will be able to submit a claim and receive up to $50 or 13,500 V-bucks if approved. If you feel you’re obligated to more reward, there’s still an option to make a claim on epiclootboxsettlement.com and potentially receive a bigger payout.

Regarding players under 18, parents will be able to submit a claim for an unauthorized purchase made by their child and receive the same potential settlement, but it’s contingent on closing their child’s Epic Games account.

The settlement is another stake in the heart for randomized loot boxes in videogames. The practice has drawn a great deal of criticism, reaching all the way to national governments through 2017 and into 2018. As it stands, Blizzard’s Overwatch is one of the few major games to continue the practice.

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