FORTNITE creator Epic Games is being forced to pay over $500 million (£400 million) in fines and refunds by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC has ruled that the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and “used design tricks called dark patterns to trick millions of gamers into making unintended purchases.”
Epic Games is fined $275m (£225m) for breaching the Protection Act.
The ruling states that while Fortnite is rated for teens, Epic Games knowingly allows children under the age of 13 to play without parental consent.
The report calls Fortnite a “kid-centric online service” and claims that Epic Games knows through surveys, player data, and toy marketing that children under the age of 13 make up a portion of its player base.
By collecting data about users and allowing voice and text chat by default, Epic Games claims that it is compromising children’s privacy.
In addition to the fine, the default settings must also be changed so that messaging and chat functions are disabled.
Additionally, Fortnite players under the age of 13 will be required to provide verifiable parental consent in order to use these features.
In the second half of the order, Epic is being asked to reimburse customers $245m (£200m) for using “dark patterns and billing practices”.
The commission alleges that Epic Games engaged in unlawful practices to lure gamers into making online purchases.
It states that Epic Games has implemented a “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration” that encourages players to make accidental purchases.
The report also claims, “Players could be charged while attempting to wake the game from sleep mode while the game was in a loading screen, or by pressing an adjacent key while simply attempting to preview an item.” to display.”
Additionally, the report said those who dispute the claims with their cardholders have often been locked out of their accounts, which could include other in-game purchases.
Samuel Levine, director of the Office of Consumer Protection, wrote in a statement, “Epic put children and young people at risk with its lax privacy practices and cost consumers millions in illegal fees through its use of dark patterns.”
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9931806/fortnite-fined-over-500million-for-tricking-players/ Fortnite has been fined over $500 million for “tricking” players into making unwanted purchases