Epic Games has been fined $245 million ($201 million) by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States for allegedly allowing kids to “rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement” in their Fortnite game.

According to the order, which was officially issued today (March 14), Epic Games is required to pay the fine because of “dark patterns” that reportedly deceived players into buying unauthorized copies of games.

The FTC alleged that Epic used “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration” that resulted in unintended purchases to get players “of all ages” to inadvertently make in-game purchases using real money.

Additionally, the government agency claimed that Epic Games made it simple for kids to buy things in-game without their parents’ consent and punished users who contested unauthorized charges by locking their accounts.

The ruling will prohibit Epic from using these murky patterns going forward and stop allowing players to make purchases without permission in addition to the £201 million fine. Additionally, players who dispute unauthorized charges with their credit card business won’t have their accounts locked by the Fortnite developer.

The FTC announced that the money will be used to refund customers after voting 4-0 to accept the order. Anyone who purchased in-game goods they didn’t want, had their accounts locked because they disputed unauthorized charges, or let their children use their credit card to make similar unauthorized purchases may request a refund, according to this page.

The company has already agreed to pay £226 million ($275 million) in penalties to the FTC for breaking the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, bringing the total amount of the company’s fines to over half a billion dollars.

Chapter 4 Season 2 of Fortnite, which included a new map and a shotgun that could kill players in a single blow, was published by Epic Games last week.


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