The FTC has finally reached a decision in the Epic Games Fortnite case that saw the huge gaming giant responsible for violating the COPPA Rule last December.
For a bit of recap, back in December, the FTC found Epic Games on the wrong side of adherence to a rule designed to protect children’s personal information regarding Fortnite purchases. During the findings, the FTC determined the Fortnite creator was responsible for $520 million in damages, most of which is to go to consumer refunds. The FTC said, “Epic will pay a $275 million monetary penalty for violating the COPPA Rule” back then, and yesterday, the FTC made their next move.
This FTC report details “an order requiring Epic Games, the maker of the Fortnite video game, to pay $245 million to consumers to settle charges that the company used dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement.” The ‘dark design’ tricks were deployed to reap profits from unintended purchases gamers would make on the title, allowing purchases to happen with the press of a single button, the report goes on to say.
Epic Games even reportedly went as far as to “locked the accounts of customers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies” to obtain funds continuously. While the new report details the massive $245 million dollars to be used towards making customers whole again by way of refund, there’s a silver lining where Epic Games is prohibited from engaging in these ‘dark patterns’ again.
The FTC voted unanimously to pass the judgment on Epic Games, and the Fortnite juggernaut will no longer be able to lock clients out of their accounts due to charge disputes. The FTC even outlined a handy dandy tool for parents on the receiving end of the predatory practices on how to receive a refund, and that can be found here, complete with a FAQ on who’s applicable for refunds.