MMO Business Roundup: Fortnite’s lockbox lawsuit, Riot’s diversity boss, Take-Two’s stock, Acti-Blizz’s investor warning


Business business business! What’s on the weekend agenda? Oh heck, let’s just throw Fortnite, lockboxes, and a lawsuit in one sentence. It’s like catnip.

Fortnite’s lockbox lawsuit

As reports, a California family has filed lodged a lawsuit against Epic Games over Fortnite’s lockboxes. The plaintiff alleges that the lockboxes are essentially preying on minors like his son with gambling mechanics as well as with predatory marketing of those lockboxes. The suit was apparently written before Epic Games began disclosing odds on lootboxes, so the complaint blasts that deception too. According to, the suit seeks class-action status and “accuses Epic of violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (protecting consumers from unfair business practices), False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law, as well as accusing them of unjust enrichment.”

Riot’s new diversity boss

Riot Games has made more moves to shore up its its diversity efforts in the wake of a massive sexism scandal that dominated headlines last summer. This week, the League of Legends company announced the hiring of Angela Roseboro as its Chief Diversity Officer and the “leader of [its] diversity, inclusion, & Riot culture initiative.” Prior to Riot, she worked in a similar role at Dropbox. The company has also posted a new update on its diversity progress. (Thanks, Scott!)

Acti-Blizz issues warning to investors

Those of you who don’t read the fine print in 306-page investor reports will probably have missed the notice from Activision-Blizzard that essentially reminds investors that its massive restructuring – involving the layoff of 800 people – doesn’t necessarily mean that the business will be improved. “Further, there can be no assurance that our business will be more efficient or effective than prior to implementation of the plan, or that additional restructuring plans will not be required or implemented in the future,” the document reads. “The implementation of this restructuring plan may also be costly and disruptive to our business or have other negative consequences, such as attrition beyond our planned reduction in workforce or negative impacts on employee morale and productivity, or on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees. Any of these consequences could negatively impact our business.” Yikes.

PUBG Corp.’s machine learning initiative

PUBC Corp. is joining the ranks of companies looking toward machine learning to help fight cheaters, in this case in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. “On top of these protective anti-cheat solutions, we have also applied a machine learning technique that analyzes our players’ usage patterns and have built a system that can detect abnormal game patterns or actions that interrupt the normal operations of the game coming from hack users,” the company wrote in a recent Steam update. “In the process of building these systems, we collaborated with numerous experienced anti-cheat solution companies and top-tier engineers, which has helped us strengthen our game’s security.”

Roblox is stupidly popular with kids

Laugh it up, but Roblox is still tremendously popular. PocketGamer reports (via Gamasutra) that the game has now passed over a billion hours’ worth of engagement – that’s per month, and 20 times what it was six years ago.

World of Tanks’ CE

World of Tanks is getting… a collector’s edition? Yes, the 2010 tank MMO that started the tank craze is launching exactly 5130 individually numbered collector editions to the North American market this April. There’s no price given, but we assume it’ll be priced similarly to the console and EU CEs that rolled out last year for around $180 US. Expect a special gaming mouse, lithographs, blueprints, model, hardcover art book, and a ton of redeemable content bits, including a million credits.

Why Take-Two’s stock is struggling in spite of its Red Deads

Finally, GIbiz has up an excellent analysis of Take-Two’s stock value, which has been tanking since October in spite of continuing excellence in GTAO and the apparently highly successful (and of course critically acclaimed) Red Dead Redemption 2. “If you’re an employee of Take-Two (or an investor holding their shares) you might reasonably find yourself shaking your fists in the general direction of Wall Street and asking what on earth it is that these people actually want,” Rob Fahey writes, ultimately concluding that investors might have overly high expectations for the online component of the game that Rockstar is seemingly only reluctantly meeting – that there’s a disconnect between the cowboy-flavored-GTAO investors want to make dough on and the single-player-first art piece Rockstar actually delivered.

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