Spotted on Kotaku, Epic Games will have to dip into its funds and pay an astounding $520 million combined settlement after the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) found the company invaded kid’s privacy and was tricking some of its players into purchasing things in Fortnite, they didn’t want.
The FTC announced the epic (no pun intended) penalty on Monday, Dec.19, pointing out that it is the most significant penalty in the history of the regulatory commission. In response to the fine, Epic Games said, “No developer creates a game with the intention of ending up here.”
So What Did Epic Games’ Do?
According to the FTC, the multi-billion dollar video game developer was making money off children without following the rules to protect them while playing online games.
One settlement was for Epic Games to collect information from Fortnite players under 13 and in-game settings that automatically turn on voice and text chat by default. That was considered a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule resulting in a $275 million fine and a commitment from Epic Games to change the default settings in Fortnite.
The second settlement was for using “dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases.” According to the FTC, Epic accidentally made it easy to purchase skins and hard to locate the refund option.
The FTC also alleges that Epic Games sometimes banned accounts that could secure refunds leaving players locked out of the content they accidentally paid for. For its egregiousness, Epic Games put $245 million into a fund to help reimburse players for those accidental purchases.
Fortnite has made $9 billion, so this fine is just a slap on the wrist for Epic Games, but still, it’s a costly one.
Photo: Neilson Barnard / Getty
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