Epic Games, the company behind the megapopular video game Fortnite has been ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pay $245 million to customers. The federal agency claimed Fortnite players were tricked into making in-game purchases using “dark patterns.”
Game Developer reports that Epic Games, the creator of the popular online game Fortnite has been ordered to pay $245 million to customers by the FTC. The payment is a portion of a larger agreement made with the FTC last year to address issues relating to the shop procedures and refund systems used in Fortnite.
The FTC claims that Epic Games tricked players into making unnecessary purchases using “dark patterns” and permitted minors to accrue unauthorized charges without parental supervision. The oversight body detailed a complaint in December 2022 that focused on the company’s use of “a variety of design tricks,” commonly known as dark patterns, that resulted in unintended in-game purchases by users of all ages.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Fortnite‘s “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration” led to unintended charges being applied to players with just one button press. The business also made it simple for kids to buy things without their parents’ permission. Epic allegedly locked the accounts of customers disputing unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
In a statement made public in December 2022, Epic Games stated that it never intended to deceive players. According to the company, all game developers should evaluate their payment processes to adopt “practices that provide the greatest amount of clarity to players when they make purchase decisions.”
“No developer creates a game with the intention of ending up here. The video game industry is a place of fast-moving innovation, where player expectations are high and new ideas are paramount. Statutes written decades ago don’t specify how gaming ecosystems should operate,” wrote Epic Games.
Epic emphasized its dedication to leading the way in consumer protection and giving players the best experience possible. “The laws have not changed, but their application has evolved and long-standing industry practices are no longer enough. We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players,” the company added.
The $245 million will be used to give affected customers refunds. As a result of the settlement, Epic Games is no longer permitted to use “dark patterns” going forward and is required to ask customers for permission before charging them. The order also prohibits the business from preventing customers from accessing their accounts in order to contest unauthorized charges.
Epic Games has also agreed to pay a $275 million fine to settle FTC claims that the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, according to a separate agreement that was made public in December 2022.
Read more at Game Developer here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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