Fortnite

A while ago Epic Games took on the odd task of suing Fortnite cheaters. It's an expensive and ultimately damaging process if it goes awry and the wrong person gets caught in the cross hairs. And, something like that just recently happened when a 14-year-old ended up getting sued and his mother had to weigh in on the situation.

Kotaku is reporting that two of the latest victims of Epic's lawsuit-happy pursuit of taking down cheaters backfired in a bad way when it comes to public relations, because one of the perpetrators of the cheating was a 14-year-old. According to U.S. law, you're not allowed to sue minors directly, so Epic Games is already in hot water in that area, and, even more than that, the mother has chimed in with a letter to the court that has a scathing take on the situation.

The mother promptly explains that Epic is mistaken to use the terms of its service agreement as a means of coming down on her son because she never gave consent for her son to play Fortnite. This is a pretty huge strike against Epic because if they were servicing a minor for a game that was designed for anyone over the age of 18, it could reflect badly on the company.

Additionally, the mother points out that since Fortnite's Battle Royale mode is free-to-play, it's incumbent on Epic to prove that cheaters are costing the company a loss of revenue. It's a good comeback because there would need to be evidence of correlation between cheating and loss of profits. It's already difficult for many publishers to prove that piracy causes loss of profits, so I imagine it would be even harder to prove that cheating causes loss of revenue.

A company like Bluehole Studios might have a much better opportunity at using the loss-of-revenue tactic given that you actually have to buy PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and if there was ample enough proof from user reviews claiming that they refunded the game due to hackers, they might be able to use that in court. In Epic's case, it's almost impossible to prove given that Fortnite isn't on Steam, there is no public-facing data tracking for player engagement, there's no purchasing graphs since it's free-to-play, and there's no way to know how many people uninstalled the game in light of encountering cheaters.

The letter goes on to further reproach Epic Games for going after individual players instead of the companies hosting the cheat services, and that Epic would have to prove that her son actually modified Fortnite as it was alleged in the lawsuit.

The mother also takes Epic to task for potentially doxing her son, which is against Delaware state laws.

According to the Kotaku article, Epic decided to take the teenager to court after the company filed a DMCA takedown on one of the videos he uploaded to YouTube, which allegedly featured him cheating in Fortnite. When he filed the counterclaim against Epic's DMCA takedown, Epic stated that the law requires that the company file a suit in light of the counterclaim.

The company's statement to Kotaku also notes that Epic is standing by the measures taken against the minor, stating that it's against any form of cheating from any player at any age.

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