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The Real Reason This Parent Is Threatening Blizzard

The ethical concerns surrounding microtransactions and loot boxes in gaming has been a hot-button topic in the industry for years. These practices have raised tons of questions in the last decade, with arguments being made regarding when in-game monetization veers from offering players a fun experience and becomes either a pay-to-win scam or motivated by pure greed. There have been many examples of shameful implementations of microtransactions in the past, and almost all of them have resulted in pushback from the gaming community.

Blizzard Entertainment was recently accused of unethical practices when it comes to the loot box mechanics in the game "Hearthstone," a card-based spin-off of "World of Warcraft." The company entered the crosshairs of a proposed class-action lawsuit from a concerned Arizona parent, who says that the pack-opening mechanic in "Hearthstone" is a bottomless money pit and an outright scam. Here are the details surrounding Blizzard's next potential legal battle.

Lawsuit claims Hearthstone's card packs are 'exploitative'

In a proposed lawsuit filed with the California State Superior Court in Orange County, the counsel of Arizona-based father Nathan Harris claims that the microtransactions contained in "Hearthstone" are "unlawful, deceptive, and misleading" (via Polygon). The suit compares buying card packs in "Hearthstone" to gambling for children, asserting that Harris' daughter had spent hundreds of dollars in pursuit of valuable cards only to be rewarded with little-to-no value in the game's contained ecosystem. The complaint describes this practice as "overwhelmingly misleading and exploitive." In total, Harris' daughter reportedly spent in excess of $300, which the filing says should be reimbursed according to the guidelines set forth by the California Family Code which allows minors under the age of 18 to "disaffirm contracts."

This is the second time in recent memory that Blizzard Entertainment has been struck with a lawsuit pertaining to microtransactions and loot boxes — and that doesn't include the multiple lawsuits that its parent company, Activision Blizzard, is currently facing. Back in March, Blizzard was able to successfully avert a court case regarding loot boxes in "Overwatch" (via Bloomberg Law). The suit stated that the presence of loot boxes in "Overwatch" violated anti-gambling laws. As of now, Blizzard has not released a statement regarding the proposed "Hearthstone" lawsuit. Should it prove successful, Blizzard could pay over $5 million in damages.