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Epic Games to Pay a $245 Million Fine to the FTC

The makers of Fortnite will compensate players who unintentionally used real money for in-game items.

In December 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a formal complaint against Epic Games, the developer and publisher of the popular online game Fortnite. The FTC alleged that the game employed manipulative strategies, known as “dark patterns,” to pressure players, specifically minors, into spending real money on in-game purchases without their parents’ knowledge or approval.

According to the FTC, Fortnite’s confusing button setup led players to make purchases unintentionally by a single button press. The game also allowed children to make purchases without needing parental consent.

This week, the FTC ruled against Epic Games, instructing them to pay $245 million in refunds to players who reported being misled into spending money. The ruling also prevents Epic from using dark patterns or charging consumers without clear consent. Moreover, Epic is barred from blocking users’ access for disputing unauthorized charges, following reports of accounts being locked when complaints were raised.

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