Epic Games, the multinational video game development company behind the popular game Fortnite, has reached a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a staggering $245 million. This settlement comes as a result of allegations of deceptive tactics used by the company, which ultimately led to unwanted purchases in the game.
The settlement, which is part of a larger $520 million agreement with the US government, aims to compensate the over 37 million potentially affected users. The claims process is now open, allowing affected individuals to seek refunds for their alleged harm caused by deceptive design choices within Fortnite.
One aspect of the settlement involves a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, for which Epic Games has paid $275 million. The company was accused of gathering personal information from children under the age of 13 without obtaining parental consent.
The FTC accuses Epic Games of employing “dark patterns” and other deceptive practices to trick players into making in-game purchases they did not intend or want. As a result, users who were charged for unwanted purchases, parents whose children made unauthorized charges on their credit cards, and users whose accounts were locked after complaining about wrongful charges are eligible to apply for compensation.
To be considered for a refund, claimants must submit their claims by January 17, 2024. The settlement also includes provisions to prevent future deceptive practices and ensure that players will not be locked out of their accounts for addressing concerns about unauthorized charges.
Epic Games has voiced its commitment to being a leader in consumer protection and providing the best gaming experience for its players. The company hopes to learn from this experience and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
As the claims process begins, affected Fortnite users can now seek restitution for their alleged harm and hold Epic Games accountable for its deceptive practices. The settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and fair treatment within the gaming industry, as players deserve to enjoy their gaming experiences without falling victim to manipulative tactics.