Fornite Ordered to Pay $245 Million for Player Refunds by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission finalized an order that requires Epic Games to provide refunds for unwanted purchases in the popular game Fortnite

As we reported in December 2022, Epic Games, creators of the highly-popular game Fortnite, were ordered to pay a total of $520 million in penalties for misleading users into purchases in the shop and COPPA violations by collecting information from players under the age of 13 without getting parental consent. 

The FTC has now finalized the order for the company to use $245 million as refunds for players that made purchases on the shop. According to the FTC’s press release

“Epic deployed a variety of design tricks known as dark patterns aimed at getting consumers of all ages to make unintended in-game purchases. Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button. The company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent.”

The release goes on to allege, 

“According to the FTC’s complaint, Epic also locked the accounts of customers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.”

This ruling is a strong signal by US regulators that game purchases and selling strategies for online games must make any digital sale extremely transparent, especially when the end consumer is often a minor. 

In a world where loot boxes and gacha games exist, it will be interesting to see if the FTC investigates other gaming companies for similar, or in some cases, even more egregious selling strategies. 

More details will emerge later on how players can obtain their refund, but the FTC will send out emails to notify people. 

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