Hearings continue on whether Nintendo of America must change its policies on preventing seizures.
Last July St. Martinville Mayor Eric Martin brought Nintendo of America to federal court after his son had a seizure, which he claims was triggered by a Nintendo game. According to the family’s claims, Nintendo’s current labels do not adequately warn consumers of the potential dangers of playing their games.
Hearings on the law suit continued last month, until Nintendo settled for an undisclosed amount after the third day in front of a jury. During the hearing Nintendo acknowledged that certain patterns of light can cause epileptic seizures in a small percentage of the population, and pointed out its investment into the study of epilepsy, both internally and through the funding of independent studies. Nintendo also pointed out that it follows voluntary guidelines instituted in 1999 that have effectively reduced seizures, including the frequency and intensity of lights in its games. The company also stated its opinion that epileptic seizures are caused by a pre-existing susceptibility, not a videogame.
Although the bulk of the trial ended Thursday, another professional witness on epilepsy will give his testimony later this month. Following the final transcript’s completion, Judge Richard Haik will give Nintendo and Martin’s lawyers 45 days to complete and file their arguments based on the evidence and Federal law.
The judge will then determine whether Nintendo can be held accountable for the uncommon videogame-related seizure. The biggest question of debate is whether Nintendo’s precautions and preventative steps are enough, according to law, to make the company legally irresponsible for the rare videogame-induced epileptic seizure.
If Judge Haik finds Nintendo guilty of not providing reasonable warning to its consumers, the videogame giant may have to change one or more of its policies. The plaintiff has submitted some very significant demands to the judge, including warnings in-game, reformatting all games to reduce risk, a seizure-threat ranking system, and a trade-back/refund system for those who don’t want their highly-rated games anymore.