FTC Imposes $520 Million Penalty on Fortnite Developers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has imposed a penalty of $520 million on the developers of the famous video game, Fortnite, for deceiving people into tricky purchases.

Parents who were impacted by the deceptive policies of Fortnite developers will be able to get a cumulative refund of $245 million.

Gamers to Get Massive Refunds

Fortnite is a famous game developed by the video games company, Epic Games. Though the developers of the game were involved in violating federal law, for which they have to pay a massive fine.

According to the penalty of the FTC, the developers of the game are bound to pay $520 million in settlement for violating the Children’s Online Protection Act. Out of the total $520 million penalty, $245 million will be directed to refund the affected consumers.

Although Fortnite is free to play, the game makes billions of dollars from in-app purchases. Users can buy items like players’ clothing, different characters, and battle passes to progress into the game.

So, the developers used deceptive techniques, known as “dark patterns,” to force children to make in-app purchases.

As per the statement issued by the FTC, the developers of the game used a confusing button layout to lure users into buying different things with the press of a single button.

Consequently, many users made unintentional in-app purchases. Some purchases were so confusing that users lost their money when they thought that the game was in loading or sleep mode.

The FTC further noted that the deceptive ambitions of the developers charged hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers who had no intention of making purchases.

Apart from that, children were able to make purchases in Fortnite without the consent of their parents or cardholder. Many parents also complained their children made unauthorized purchases with Epic Games without their consent.

After facing a massive penalty, Epic responded that they are committed to consumer protection, adding that they will continue to give the best experience to their players.

Who is Eligible to Get Refunds?

Those parents whose children made unauthorized in-app purchases between January 2017 to November 2018 at the Epic Games Store will be eligible for a refund.

Consumers who made unintended purchases between January 2017 and September 2022 are eligible for refunds, as are players whose accounts were locked due to disputes with credit card companies.

Meanwhile, the FTC says that the affected users do not need to do anything right now.

The FTC will post updates on its website about the Fortnite penalty, while the consumers who are supposed to get refunds will receive emails about the status of their cases.

However, the FTC has also warned people about fraudulent actors who might impersonate themselves as FTC officials to give refunds to the impacted consumers.

This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.