Epic Games is Now Required to Pay $245 Million in FTC Order Over Fortnite Practices
Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized an order against Epic Games over Fortnite’s unwanted purchases case. We’ve talked about this before in our previous review of the case in which the maker of the game had to pay over $500 Million USD in fines over their practices that violated several laws.
See, the FTC alleged that Epic deployed a variety of tactics to drive unintended purchases of virtual currency for acquiring perks such as outfits and dance moves in the game; these tactics ultimately led to millions of dollars in unauthorized charges for consumers. With the order now in place, the company must pay $245 million in fines. This money will go toward refunds to the players that have been affected by such practices.
Consumers who believe they were unfairly charged for in-game purchases can go to a website set up by the FTC to request refunds. The FTC plans to make refunds available even for the following users:
- Parents whose children made an unauthorized credit card purchase in the Epic Games Store between January 2017 and November 2018
- Fortnite players who were charged in-game currency (V-Bucks) for unwanted in-game items (such as cosmetics, llamas, or battle passes) between January 2017 and September 2022
- Fortnite players whose accounts were locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after disputing unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
Additionally, the order will prohibit Epic from charging their customers through the use of Dark Patterns or from otherwise charging customers without obtaining their affirmative consent. What’s more, Fortnite will also no longer be able to block consumers from accessing their accounts should they dispute their unauthorized charges. This also comes after the recent hit the FTC delivered on Epic Games last year after the former declared that the latter violated COPPA laws.
The Commission’s vote was downright unanimous, with a 4-0 in favor of approving the complaint and order against Epic Games. Not helping things were some of the revelations shown in court documents, such as the fact that employees at Epic have raised concerns regarding the dark patterns the game employed as far back as 2017, with them being ignored by management. Additionally, we have the fact that age verification for in-game purchases began in 2019.
So, now Epic Games will have to pay for the settlement, and the appropriate players that feel unjustly charged will be refunded. Fortnite is currently available on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and mobile devices through GeForce NOW.