The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has Finalized that Epic Games, the developer, and publisher of the popular video game Fortnite, must pay a $245 million penalty for utilizing deceptive practices. The FTC claims that Epic Games incorporated manipulative design elements in the game’s interface, referred to as “dark patterns,” to persuade players to make unwanted purchases. Furthermore, Epic Games allowed minors to make unauthorized purchases without their parent’s knowledge or consent.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently settled a complaint with Epic Games, in which it was alleged that the company utilized various design strategies, known as “dark patterns,” to induce players of all ages to make unintended in-game purchases. The layout of Fortnite’s buttons was inconsistent, counterintuitive, and perplexing, resulting in players unintentionally making purchases with a single press of a button. Moreover, Epic Games allowed minors to make purchases without any parental consent, making it straightforward for children to spend money while playing Fortnite. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint, Epic Games also locked customer accounts that disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
As per the FTC’s order, Epic Games is required to pay $245 million, which will be utilized to provide refunds to affected consumers. The order also forbids Epic Games from charging customers using dark patterns or any other means without their explicit consent. Furthermore, Epic Games is prohibited from preventing consumers from accessing their accounts if they dispute any unauthorized charges.
Following the receipt of five comments, the Commission voted 4-0 in favor of approving the complaint and order against Epic Games, as well as addressing the commenters’ concerns.
Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, has agreed to pay a $275 million fine as part of a separate settlement with the FTC. The settlement is in response to allegations that Epic violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule. This agreement was also announced on 19 December 2022.
If you believe you may have been affected by Epic Games’ use of dark patterns in Fortnite, you can visit FTC.gov/Fortnite for more information about the refund process. This will allow you to learn more about how to receive compensation for any unauthorized charges incurred while playing the game.
The Federal Trade Commission is a government agency that aims to safeguard consumers and promote fair competition in the marketplace. If you want to learn more about consumer topics, visit consumer.ftc.gov. If you come across any fraudulent activities, scams, or unethical business practices, report them at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. You can also follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to receive the latest FTC news and alerts. Stay informed and help protect yourself from deceptive business practices.