The Federal Trade commission has locked in a $245 million settlement from Epic Games, here’s what you need to know about the Fortnite FTC fine.
It was announced in December of 2022 that the FTC was fining Fortnite over $500 million for two separate complaints with developer and publisher Epic Games’ conduct. $275 million over COPPA, Childrens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, violations, and another $245 million for the use of “dark patterns.” On March 14, 2023, the FTC finalized its $245 million dark patterns complaint against Epic Games.
Fortnite FTC fine for COPPA violations locked in
The Federal Trade Commission hit Epic Games with $245 million in fines for the company’s use of dark patterns. Dark patterns are intentional design elements that encourage customers to make unintended purchases, obfuscate refunds, and generally abuse UI choices to make purchases more likely and refunds less likely. According to the FTC,
“Epic deployed a variety of design tricks known as dark patterns aimed at getting consumers of all ages to make unintended 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 company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent,” said the Federal Trade Commission in an official statement.
The $245 million fine will be used to provide refunds to Fortnite customers who were affected by Epic Games’ dark pattern usage. The FTC says these affected customers fall into several categories. These are the three categories of customers that the FTC says will be eligible for a refund.
- 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.
If you think you qualify for a refund as a result of the Fortnite FTC fine, visit FTC.gov/Fortnite for more details. This fine is the only one that will find its way back to Fortnite’s customers, with the COPPA violations being a more traditional fine by the regulatory body.