The worm has turned, gentlemen. A Hawaii man has sued developer NC Interactive over his addiction to the computer game Lineage II. And won. For real. Someone just beat the end-user license agreement.
Craig Smallwood has sunk more than 20,000 hours into Lineage II, compulsively playing when he could have presumably been doing more constructive things. Like going to the pub with friends. Or dressing himself. Or bathing. Or playing a better game than Lineage II.
Smallwood was reportedly hospitalized for extreme emotional distress and depression after he was locked out of his three accounts, and continues to receive therapy three times a week. His lawsuit blasts NC for failing to warn him of how potentially dangerous the game is.
Naturally, NC fired back in exactly the way developers have fired back for years: by citing its EULA, which among other things generally absolves the developer of any such liability as Smallwood. Normally, that’s all. Case closed. But, luckily for Smallwood, Hawaii law bars contracts that waive in advance a company’s ability to make gross-negligence claims. As such, NC has found itself on the receiving end of the pwn stick. You can see said pwnage in PDF format here.
As much as I’m happy for Smallwood, is it really right to finger the developer when you’re addicted to a videogame? I could become addicted to Tetris tomorrow, but I can’t imagine suing Alexey Pajitnov for ‘not warning me of the dangers’ would be exactly fair. Certainly he didn’t design those falling blocks with danger in mind – so too would NC not have designed Lineage II to keep you from taking a bath.
So what do you think, guys? Weigh in, and let’s make this a Weighty McWeighterson of a discussion.