Epic Games to Pay $245 Million in FTC Fines

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The creators of Fortnite need to reimburse players who unknowingly paid real money for in-game content.

Back in December of 2022, the United States Federal Trade Commission raised a formal complaint against Epic Games, developer and publisher of the massively-popular online game Fortnite. Specifically, the FTC raised concerns that the game had used manipulative tactics, also known as “dark patterns,” to coerce players, particularly minors without parental knowledge or consent, into unknowingly paying real money for in-game purchases.

“Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button,” the FTC said in a press release. “The company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent.”

This week, the FTC rendered judgement upon Epic Games, ordering them to pay $245 million in reimbursements to players who lodged complaints about being tricked into paying money. “The order also prohibits Epic from charging consumers through the use of dark patterns or from otherwise charging consumers without obtaining their affirmative consent,” the press release adds. “Additionally, the order bars Epic from blocking consumers from accessing their accounts for disputing unauthorized charges,” referencing reports that Epic locked the accounts of any players who attempted to contest unwanted charges.

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