A $245 million fine against Epic Games has been decided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The fine is a result of Epic adopting what the FTC refers to as “dark patterns to lure gamers into making unnecessary purchases and allow children to rack up unauthorized charges without any parental intervention,” according to the FTC.
The FTC specifically mentions Fortnite, a hit game from Epic Games. The FTC cited irregular and perplexing button arrangements as examples of dark patterns. Under this setup, players may make purchases by pressing just one button.
The court ruling claims that the firm made it simple for kids to buy things while playing Fortnite without asking for their parent’s permission.
What Is the Purpose of the FTC Fine Against Epic Games?
The $245 million fine will be applied to client refunds. The FTC judgment also bars Epic from future “affirmative consent” charges on players.
Epic can no longer lock players’ accounts who open disputes against unlawful charges.
According to the FTC, eligibility for refunds is based on the following factors:
- Parents whose children made an illicit credit card purchase in the Epic Games Store between January 2017 and November 2018
- Players of Fortnite who, between January 2017 and September 2022, were charged in-game money (V-Bucks) for unused in-game products (such cosmetics, llamas, or battle passes)
- Players of Fortnite whose accounts were shut off between January 2017 and September 2022 after they disputed fraudulent charges with their credit card issuers.
Anyone who believes they could be due a refund can find out more information on the FTC website. As more information becomes available, it will be added to the website.