Epic Games has just announced that they have reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), paying $245 million USD over past Fortnite item shop and refund systems, as well as another $275 million USD over children’s privacy concerns in Fortnite.
As a result, the FTC will have millions to distribute back to Epic customers “at their discretion”. At this time, details have not been released about how or when these refunds would be rolled out. Here’s Epic Games’ full statement on the settlement:
Epic Games’ statement closely followed a series of explanatory tweets from the FTC feed. The FTC alleged that Epic was tricking players with their shop, and also allowing younger players to pile up unsupervised charges:
Epic Games was quick to respond, carefully laying out how they have improved Fortnite’s behavior over the years, such as the addition of Epic’s Parental Controls, the new option to reject saving payment information, and avoiding pay-to-win mechanics altogether.
The language and approach of Epic Games’ response today was very careful and meticulous. Casual fans could potentially view today’s settlement as admission, rather than an appropriate and transparent step forward. To be fair, the gaming industry in general has rattled trust with consumers over the years, with systems like microtransactions.
But Epic Games takes the position of being pioneers in the improvement of industry practices. They’ve certainly shown initiative in that regard. Today’s settlement shortly follows the new Cabined Accounts that Epic Games announced earlier this month, which is intended to encourage truthful age verification and increase parental controls.
Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys all received the new system on December 7th, 2022. Fortnite continues to be one of the most popular games in the industry, let alone among its free-to-play peers. Given such a vast audience, it’s crucial that Fortnite creates an appropriate environment.
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