Skip to main content

The FTC fines Fortnite developer $520m for duping "millions of players"

Epic Games is accused of tricking players into making purchases

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined the developer of Fortnite $520 million, a record-breaking sum. 

Epic Games is accused of "lax privacy practices" for in-game chat, as well as using methods to "dupe millions of players" into spending on microtransactions accidentally.

The FTC announced the judgment, which cites the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act as justification, saying Epic Games collected information on its users by default. 

Additionally, the FTC claims the developer likely knew many of its players were underage and they didn't ask for parental consent to collect this data. 

On top of that, the FTC claims Epic Games was using "illegal dark patterns" to "trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement".

Most of this dates back to before 2018, when it was easy for children to purchase in-game currency without the knowledge of their parents. 

"We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players," Epic Games wrote in a reply. 

"Over the past few years, we've been making changes to ensure our ecosystem meets the expectations of our players and regulators, which we hope will be a helpful guide for others in our industry."

The fines include $275 million for the privacy breach and $245 million in refunds for its practices with "dark patterns".