Fortnite Creator Epic Games to Pay Record-Breaking $520 Million for FTC Settlement


Fortnite‘s developers Epic Games were recently hit with huge allegations from the US government that eventually lead to the developers settling with the Federal Trade Commissions for USD$520 million.

US Government alleges that Epic Games violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, more commonly known as COPPA by collecting private information of children under 13 without the parent’s verifiable consent. The settlement has Epic Games paying USD$275 million to the US Government.

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A different settlement also alleged that Epic Games was engaged in unethical practices of harming its players with a deceptive user interface. These included making it easy for kids to buy items without parental approval and making canceling purchases harder by hiding them at the bottom of the screen. The developers now have to issue refunds of approximately USD$245,000,000 to its consumers.

The developers responded to the FTC settlement in a blog post about the situation and stated that no developers create a game with the intent of being in that situation, and stated that their decision to agree with the FTC is to help take steps to protect consumers, and as a way to reflect the way the law should interact with the current gaming landscape.

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As a final result of the settlements and agreement, Epic Games is now prohibited from using dark patterns to monitor consumers and cannot charge them without their consent, as well as is unable to lock user accounts for asking for a refund, and will be in effect for 20 years after the agreement is finalized.

While Epic Games stated they’re doing this to protect consumers, it hardly sounds like a genuine call to action since the company only implemented such features after it got caught and had to pay a fine. There’s still an untold amount of revenue and player data it could have accumulated in the years before this settlement, but it’s nice to see a big step is finally being taken, even if it should have come sooner.

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About Epic Games

Epic Games is a game development studio that started in 1992, originally known as Potomac Computer Systems. The company is well known for getting its start in creating the Unreal Engine, then later the Gears of War series and Infinity Blade mobile games, and now with its goliath of a battle royale Fortnite, and its Epic Games Store.

The company has faced numerous other allegations and lawsuits with another recent one being Apple and Google Delisting the game from the App Store and Play store for violating their terms of service, which lead to a lawsuit between Epic Games vs Apple, one that caused Epic Games to pay a USD$3,600,000 fine.

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