Epic Games to Pay $245 Million for Tricking Players into Making In-game Purchases


On Tuesday, March 14th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized an order requiring Epic games to pay $245 million for tricking users into making unwanted in-game purchases. The Federal Trade Commission plans to use the money won in the lawsuit to attempt to bail out those that were affected by the lawsuit.


The accusations claim that Fortnite used dark patterns to trick players into making purchases and let players easily rack up charges without any parental involvement. Further, the company programmed the game in such a way so that the controls make it very easy to make multiple purchases without a player realizing what they’ve done until they see their statements.

In Years Past…

Epic Games was also in the news back in December for a lawsuit which led to the gaming company shelling out over $275 million over children’s privacy and trickery charges. Fortnite was collecting data on children under the age of 13, which is prohibited by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule), and the Federal Trade Commission Act.


YouTube was caught in the crossfire of a similar scandal in 2019. A settlement was reached where Google shelled out $170 million due to YouTube, like Fortnite, breaking the federal laws which prevent companies from tracking children under the age of 13.

It should be noted, however, that the penalty for the two citations varied greatly. I think such a discrepancy can be attributed to the aggressiveness that Epic games used to sell their in-game content. The dark colors, admittedly, made small print tough to read – I imagine even tougher for a young child.

Epic Games

Epic games originally tried to remedy the situation by deleting players’ accounts and having players verify through accounts through an affirmative Email address. Such a solution to the problem should have already been in place for a game with in-game purchases – especially by a game as popular and with as many in-game purchases as Fortnite.

The $245 million that Epic Games will be shelling out will be used to provide refunds to consumers that were affected. The order from the court prohibits Epic from using dark colors in areas of downloadable content as well as charging consumers without obtaining parental or affirmative consent. The order also restricts Epic games from blocking consumers from accessing their account for disputing unauthorized charges.

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