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Proposed Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Blizzard Over Hearthstone Packs

Courtesy of Blizzard

A parent has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Blizzard Entertainment on behalf of his daughter, claiming that Hearthstone's card pack system tricks players, especially minors, into making non-refundable purchases, Polygon reports.

Arizona resident Nathan Harris and his lawyers filed the proposed suit with the California State Superior Court in Orange County. Their filing says Harris' daughter spent more than $300 on Hearthstone from 2019 to 2021 without her father's permission. The suit argues she didn't know the odds of opening valuable cards — and in fact "almost never" did, per the suit — and was unaware she could not get a refund.

Harris and his lawyers have asked the court to open their suit up to any other minors or parents of minors who have ever purchased a Hearthstone card pack to join their side. They estimate that could include "hundreds, if not thousands" of people.

According to Harris' lawyer, minors have the right to "disaffirm contracts" under California Family Code, and that this extends to getting a refund on a purchase such as a Hearthstone pack. The suit also attacks Blizzard for not disclosing odds for these packs, failing to implement sufficient parental control features, and not offering a way for parents and minors to get refunds.

Blizzard has responded to the filing by asking the court to move the case to the United States District Court in the Central District of California, which it says is the appropriate jurisdiction. The company said damages in a proposed class action suit would exceed the $5 million threshold needed to move the case to the Central District.

Blizzard has come under fire in the past for randomized player rewards bought with real money. The company successfully moved that case to arbitration in March, arguing the minor in the case had agreed to this when signing the game's user agreements.

Blizzard is hardly alone in taking heat for loot boxes and similar monetization strategies. Legislators around the world have begun to question whether loot boxes count as gambling, and whether players need to be protected from them. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced a bill in 2019 to regulate loot boxes, but little progress has been made on enacting it.

Meanwhile, a Dutch court ruled in March that FIFA's card packs don't break the country's gambling laws, dealing publishers a win.