Boy sues Nintendo over ‘immoral’ loot boxes

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Nintendo is facing a new lawsuit brought by a young gamer, with the help of his father. This boy accuses the Japanese manufacturer of having introduced “immoral” loot boxes on Mario Kart Tour, which would have pushed him to spend money to continue to progress in the game.

nintendo mario kart ride complaint
Credits: Nintendo

If Nintendo is used to regularly go through the court case to settle the slightest dispute, like this procedure brought against emulator developers, it is rarer to see the Japanese manufacturer on the docks.

On this Tuesday, May 23, 2023, we have just learned that BigN is targeted by a class action lawsuit filed by a young American, with the help of his father. This complaint relates to the microtransactions introduced on Mario Kart Tour, a free-to-play mobile game launched in 2019.

Like many free games, Nintendo’s title included various stores, including ruby “pipes”. To put it simply, it was like loot boxes: the user paid to obtain random rewards (there were cosmetics, but also improvements). Let us also specify that the drop chances of the different items were not displayed (which is contrary to several laws).

Nintendo loot boxes deemed immoral

Since last year, Nintendo has abandoned this system in the face of pressure from many governments, which associate loot boxes with gambling, in the sense that the user does not have the possibility of knowing what he is will get back the sums invested.

It is moreover on this precise point that the young player’s complaint relates. Thus, he accuses Nintendo to have set up an immoral systemand to have intentionally made more difficult game progression without going through these famous loot boxes. The complaint states that the boy spent over 170 dollars via his father’s credit card in Mario Kart Tour microtransactions.

Practices contrary to US law

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, the Japanese firm’s practices were contrary to Washington State consumer protection law and Californian commercial law. “Defendant’s lootbox mechanism capitalized on and encouraged addictive behavior akin to gambling”. mentions the complaint.

The attorney continues:Minors are particularly susceptible to these addictive elements of game design. The experience of acquiring surprise rewards and the excitement associated with finding unexpected in-game items has a strong appeal to miners and enhances their desire to keep playing and earning rewards.

The young player claims compensation from Nintendo to all the American miners who have spent money on ruby ​​pipes in Mario Kart Tour. Remember that in 2022, Mario Kart Tour was Nintendo’s second highest-grossing mobile gamewith revenue estimated at more than $293 million worldwide.

Source: Axios