Epic Games must pay a $520 million fine and refund money to millions of customers. This is about Fortnite and the case of purchases that children made in the game without their parents’ consent.
The creators of the extremely popular game Fortnite will be held responsible for deficiencies in the payment system and violation of players’ privacy. The American regulator ordered Epic Games to pay a fine of over half a billion dollars, which the company will gladly pay.
Epic Games will pay $520 million. for Fortnite – two fines from regulators
The huge fine is the result of a settlement that Epic reached with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The total sum of 520 million is divided into two issues.
First, US officials have determined that for many years it has been too easy to purchase premium currency in Fortnite and spend it on in-game items. Underage players were incorrectly encouraged by the title to make further purchases, and they also connected their parents’ credit cards to their accounts. It was not uncommon for them to spend hundreds of dollars without their guardians’ knowledge or consent.
As compensation, the FTC ordered the amount of $245 million to be returned by Epic to people who committed the so-called unaware purchases. The regulator has just sent the first messages because these people must register for the program themselves.
This concerns the period from January 2017 to September 2022 in the case of unwitting purchases by players and the period from January 2017 to November 2018 in the case of parents whose Fortnite bills were run up by their children. There may be as many as 37 million such people.
Fortnite illegally collected children’s data
The second fine, amounting to $275 million, concerns the privacy of underage users. The Federal Trade Commission found that Epic collected personal information from players under 13 in an unauthorized manner and without parental notice, let alone consent.
Interestingly, the fine ordered is the largest individual penalty awarded by the FTC for violating regulations reviewed by the Commission. As both issues ended in a settlement, Epic Games did not have to admit guilt. In legal terms, the company’s offenses are therefore only alleged.