A North Carolina man is suing the makers of the wildly popular Final Fantasy series of video games over claims the game is intentionally designed to trick consumers into spending real money by deceiving them into purchasing upgrades that are not included in the original release. Christopher East believes that he was misled by both Machine Zone Inc. and its parent company Epic Action. The suit is currently pending in a state court in Wakefield County. East says Machine Zone Inc., and its sister company Epic Action repeatedly deceived him and caused him to spend an unknown amount of money on the video game over the course of at least four months last year. The lawsuit is currently seeking class-action status.
Real-World Cases Result in Lawsuit Against Machine Zone
According to the Wakefield County Court papers, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss their complaint, claiming that the complaint was improper because it was filed in county court and not before the court. According to the complaint, the defendants failed to file an answer when asked to give its own definition of what a software program download is. It is also claimed that defendants did not properly give an explanation as to why a refund was available if the plaintiff did not meet the requirements of purchasing upgrades. Further, the complaint claims that Epic Action failed to properly disclose that its terms of service require customers to purchase upgrades before being able to obtain a refund. The defendants did not indicate whether they would be willing to offer refunds in the event that the case did not go in their favor.
Machine Zone was not the only defendant in the case.
A local restaurant called Caiote’s claimed that it also received numerous complaints about the game. A local hotel previously operated by the defendants, identified as Holiday Inn by the Wakefield County Court documents, claimed that it received a “very low number” of complaints about the game and that none resulted in any damage to the property or loss of income. It is also claimed that there were no signs advertising Epic Battle Arena in the local area. No evidence has been introduced to suggest that any injury or loss came as a result of playing the game.
On July 6th, a federal judge ordered the defendants to remove the machine from the Waco Convention Center, claiming that it was a gambling game and a federal offense under the Florida Gambling Practices Act. On August 7th, Epic Attack was removed from the premises. On August 8th, the same federal judge ordered the eviction of Holiday Inn and Caiote’s Hotel from the same location, stating that they had failed to comply with the terms of the lease agreement.
The lawsuit against Machine Zone and the eviction of its tenants was brought by attorneys with the Florida State Attorney’s Office.
Florida is the home of the Florida Gambling Practices Act, which contained an exemption for gambling games in private homes. This was expanded upon in the state of Florida in the year 2021, but only recently was brought into the wider light of the real-world legal system. In this case, the court found that the owners of Machine Zone failed to make the reasonable accommodations required by the Florida Gambling Practices Act.
The lawsuit was resolved on a number of different conditions and was the first such case being tried in Cook County Illinois.
If the plaintiff is successful in recovering his loss, he may be entitled to additional damages in the form of an award of attorney fees and possible compensation for time off work. This is a first of a number of pending cases involving real-world casinos and the loss recovery act in relation to Illinois gambling establishments.