Epic Games to refund $245 million to Fortnite players

A multi-million case against Epic Games by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is coming to an end.

The gaming company behind the massively popular Fortnite has settled with the Commission (FTC) last year after it was accused of using “dark patterns” to trick players into making unwanted purchases.

On Tuesday (March 14), the FTC announced that it had finalized an order requiring Epic to pay $245 million in restitution to consumers.

“Fortnite’s conflicting, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration caused players to incur unnecessary charges on a per-click basis,” the FTC said in a statement. “The company also made it easier for kids to make purchases while playing Fortnite without parental permission.”

Epic Games agreed to pay $520 million for violating FTC rules last year. In addition to $245 million in restitution, he said he will pay $275 million in fines for violating the Children’s Privacy Act.

The law in question was the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which collects personal information from Fortnite players under the age of 13 without parental consent or notification. Additionally, according to the FTC, the company required parents to “jump through unreasonable hoops” when they asked to delete their children’s data.

Epic said it accepted the settlement in December because it wants to be “at the forefront of consumer protection” and provide the best possible service to its customers.

“No developer makes a game with the intention of ending up here,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

“The video game industry is a place of rapid innovation where player expectations are high and new ideas are paramount. Charters written decades ago don’t dictate how gaming ecosystems work. The laws have not changed, but their application has evolved and longstanding industry practices are no longer sufficient.”

Earlier this year, federal regulators issued a circular warning against businesses using “dark patterns” to confuse or defraud customers of subscription services.

“Deceptive practices that attempt to trick consumers into subscriptions they don’t want are violations of the law,” said Samuel Levin, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Today’s circular warns companies that government efforts are underway to stop these manipulations.”

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