The software developer of the popular game Fortnite has found itself in hot water.
Epic Games has been accused of ‘tricking’ people into making purchases on the game.
And the developer is now having to pay dearly.
On the off chance you’re not familiar with Fortnite, the multiplayer shooter game sees up to 100 people meet on a virtual island battling it out to be the champion.
The game is popular with all ages, with an average of 239 million gamers playing each month.
But there have been complaints surrounding its younger players.
Parents have been forced to fork out after their kids made purchases on the game without their parents’ permission.
Fortnite, which has been labeled as ‘highly addictive’, is actually free to play, but there are several in-game purchases gamers can make, such as ‘character skins’.
Epic Games has now been accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
It’s also been accused of using manipulative online practices, called ‘dark patterns’, tricking millions of players of all ages into making unwanted purchases.
“The company also made it easy for children to rack up charges without parental consent and locked the accounts of consumers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a statement.
The developer agreed in December 2022 to pay a multimillion dollar settlement as a consequence.
That settlement totals $520 million.
Part of the $520 million covers a $275 million fine on how Fortnite generates information about its users, including those aged 13 and under.
The fine is the largest ever given out by the FTC for breaking the rule.
The remainder will go towards refunding its customers, who can now claim for a chunk of the $245 million cash pot.
It’s expected 37 million people will claim part of the large sum, although it remains unclear how much money claimants will receive.