Epic Games, the maker of the very popular Fortnite series, is
paying two of the largest settlements in Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) history over children’s privacy violations and “dark
patterns” that intentionally tricked users into making purchases
through manipulative design.
The settlements, announced on Monday, require Epic to pay a total
of $520 million for the two consumer protection issues: $275
million for the privacy violations and $245 million for making it
easy for consumers to purchase items accidentally and very
difficult for them to cancel or refund those purchases. That money
will be refunded to consumers; it’s the largest refund amount in a
gaming case as well as the largest administrative order in
FTC history. The $275 million penalty is the largest ever for
violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or
COPPA (the previous FTC record of $136 million was held by
Google over YouTube videos aimed at children).
Epic indeed. Almost enough to make you think gaming platforms have a customer-focused interest in enforcing privacy rules and controlling in-game payments.