Wired reports that a negligence lawsuit has been filed against the publisher of the popular MMORPG Lineage II, NCSoft. A Hawaiian man alleges that he has developed an addiction to the game so strong that he can no longer function normally: his daily activities, such as getting up, dressing and bathing, or communicating with loved ones has suffered as a result.
The plaintiff is Craig Smallwood, who demands an unspecified amount in monetary damages due to this addiction. He claims he has logged in over 20,000 hours between 2004-2009. According to Wired, Smallwood alleges that the company “acted negligently in failing to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”
Gaming addiction is a curious issue. While the thought of it sounds absurd, cases of severe addiction have been known in the past, with some nasty results. The notorious South Korean couple that neglected their infant to death in favor of online play is one of the most upsetting, but South Korea also experimented with what in essence was a “game curfew” to tackle it’s addiction problem, limiting player freedom and playtime to cut addicts off.
NCSoft has asked that the case be dismissed, but at the moment it seems the federal judge is allowing the lawsuit to proceed. Parts of Smallwood’s complaint were not dismissed by U.S.District Judge Alan Kay, suggesting that a trial may be on its way.