FTC grants victimized parents hundreds of millions in refunds in Fortnite

This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has caught flack for Fortnite and its microtransactions.

Following Epic Games’ massive $245 million settlement, the Federal Trade Commission has made history by paving the path for qualified Fortnite gamers to receive and be compensated.

This momentous act has its roots in allegations of a potential violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Act made against the Fortnite developers.

This law, which was first enacted in 2000, aims to protect children who are 13 years of age or less from potentially abusive marketing tactics and privacy invasions.

The fact that Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world means that compensations such as these will undoubtedly set a precedent.

The gaming company’s purported usage of “dark patterns” was the main focus of the Federal Trade Commission’s accusations against Epic Games. According to the FTC, these kinds of patterns were deftly used to trick millions of gamers into making accidental purchases in the game. This $245 million settlement is the largest refund sum ever ordered in a gaming-related complaint and the largest administrative order in the FTC’s history, setting a significant precedent.

The FTC has ordered Epic Games to implement strong privacy controls, especially for younger users, in order to protect players. It is anticipated that these options will make sure that text and voice communications are turned off by default for young players and kids.

The FTC has outlined three main scenarios for individuals who may be unsure of their eligibility to receive this compensation:

  • Players who faced unwarranted deductions of in-game currency for items they didn’t intentionally purchase between January 2017 and September 2022.
  • Parents who found unexpected charges on their credit cards, carried out without their knowledge by their children between January 2017 and November 2018.
  • If a player’s account was suspended between January 2017 and September 2022 due to raising complaints about improper charges with their credit card provider
At the end of the day, the amount compensated is a small drop in the bucket compared to how much more money Epic Games makes from Fortnite.

The precise amount of compensation is still being discussed, but a variety of criteria, including the total number of applicants, will play a major role. Furthermore, the FTC guarantees that updates will be posted on their claims page even if no specific timetable has been published for the payment of these compensations as of yet.

In order to be considered for this reimbursement, applicants must submit their claims by January 17, 2024. They must be at least eighteen years old, or have a guardian who will finish the claim on their behalf. A working Epic Account ID is also required.

The importance of player safety, openness, and moral business conduct for video game firms is underscored by this settlement and the initiative to reimburse players that followed. Such measures could establish norms to guarantee that businesses continue to be responsible for their deeds and that in-game environments continue to be player-focused.

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