Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, will pay a record amount to the FTC over a dispute regarding microtransactions and child protection in battle royale games.
Epic Games, developer of Fortnite, Gears of War, and Unreal Engine, will pay a record amount to the Federal Trade Commission;(FTC) to resolve complaints related to microtransactions and child protection guidelines in its immensely popular battle royale game settlement payment.
Why Epic Pay $520 Million To FTC
A total of $520 million, including one court order from the Department of Justice regarding allegations that developers violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and another administrative order related to dark patterns that the FTC says it used to “trick millions of players into making unintended purchases.” U.S. dollars (about £42.6 billion) to settle two separate complaints.
“Epic will pay US$245 million to refund consumers for its dark patterns and billing practices,” the Commission explained, making it the largest refund in an FTC gaming case and the largest administrative order in history. The company has developed a variety of dark patterns aimed at inducing consumers of all ages to make unintended in-game purchases.
“Fortnite’s intuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button structure allows players to press a single button to incur unnecessary charges.
$245 Million Paid By Epic Will Be Used To Refund Customers
The administrative order related to “dark patterns” prohibits Epic from “charging without the consumer’s affirmative consent. In its ruling. The FTC also accused Epic of blocking the Fortnite accounts of customers who had previously requested refunds.
The FTC alleges that Epic locked the accounts of customers who disputed fraudulent charges to their credit card companies,” the Commission said.
In a separate ruling, Epic will pay a $275 million fine for violating COPPA rules, the largest fine ever obtained for violating FTC rules. The Commission said Fortnite’s default in-game privacy settings “put children and teens at risk” and allowed Epic to collect personal information from players under the age of 13.
The FTC said that “Epic’s settings allow users to communicate live via text and voice by default.” The FTC alleges that these default settings and Epic’s role in matching children and teens with strangers to play Fortnite together have harmed children and teens.
“Epic recognizes that many children play Fortnite, as indicated through surveys of Fortnite users, the licensing and marketing of Fortnite toys and merchandise, player support, and other company communications, and that it is important to first obtain parents’ collected children’s personal data without verifiable consent. The company also required unreasonable procedures from parents requesting removal of their children’s personal data, and sometimes failed to comply with such requests.”