The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized its order to fine Epic Games $245 million. The fine comes over the so-called “dark patterns” in “Fortnite,” which would lure players into making unwanted purchases in the game.
Epic will be forced to reimburse players of the highly popular game. The $245 million payment was originally announced as a part of a wider $520 settlement back in December.
In a complaint announced in December as part of a settlement package with Epic, the FTC said that Epic deployed a variety of design tricks known as dark patterns aimed at getting consumers of all ages to make unintended in-game purchases. Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button.
The FTC said the company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent. According to the FTC’s complaint, Epic was also alleged to have locked the accounts of customers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
The Commission voted 4-0 to approve the complaint and order against Epic, including the $245 million fine. The order also prevents Epic from charging consumers using dark patterns or without getting affirmative consent and stops Epic from blocking accounts after unauthorized charge disputes.
The $245 million will be distributed by the FTC, which has yet to determine how it will be operating the refund process. The FTC says consumers should check a dedicated page for updates on the FTC website.