FTC completes $245 million fine for Epic for using Fortnite ‘dark template’

Epic Games marketing for App Store lawsuit

The Federal Trade Commission has completed its order to fine Epic Games $245 million for so-called “dark patterns” in Fortnite that encouraged players to make unwanted in-game purchases.

In the complaint, the FTC stated that Epic used “dark patterns” in the design of the game’s menu system and interface to make it easier for players to make inadvertent purchases of in-game items. This included a button layout that the FTC found illogical and inconsistent, positioned in such a way that it was easy for a player to hit the wrong button and initiate a payment.

It has also been claimed that Epic has made it easier for kids to make purchases without requiring parental consent. Without any buying permits, kids could make huge sales quickly without contacting their parents beforehand.

Epic was also accused of blocking or threatening to block the accounts of customers who, after the purchase, began to challenge unauthorized charges from credit card companies.

The commission voted 4–0 to approve the complaint and order against Epic, including a $245 million fine. The order also prohibits Epic from charging consumers using dark patterns or without obtaining positive consent, and also prohibits Epic from blocking accounts following unauthorized payment disputes.

$245 million will be distributed by the FTC to a small list of affected consumer types in the United States. At press time, the FTC has not yet determined how it will manage the refund process, but encourages consumers to check for updates on a dedicated page on the FTC website.