Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, has agreed to pay $520 million to resolve claims that it improperly obtained the personal information of children and misled users into making payments.
It will adopt strict default privacy settings for children and will pay a record $275 million fine for breaking a law protecting children’s privacy, the commission announced on Monday. Additionally, $245 million will be paid by Epic Games to reimburse customers who were tricked into making unintended purchases.
In a statement, commission Chairwoman Lina Khan claimed that “Epic employed privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that deceived Fortnite users, especially teenagers and minors.”
The announcement was issued as the commission asserts its authority over the gaming sector, including by suing Microsoft to thwart its $69 billion acquisition attempt of Activision.
In a statement released on Monday, Epic claimed that in 2019, it would stop using random item loot boxes as well as pay-to-win and pay-to-progress elements when two players compete against one another. Additionally, it stated that an explicit yes/no choice to save payment information would be implemented.
It suggested that participants could use credit cards to get reimbursements. The business stated in its statement, “If a cardholder discovers an unlawful transaction on their account, they may report it to their bank to have it reversed.”
Epic claimed that in order to safeguard children, it has developed features like simpler-to-access parental controls, a PIN required to allow parents to approve transactions, and a daily spending cap for children under the age of 13.
According to the commission, Epic workers had complained about the company’s default settings for youngsters and suggested that voice chats should be available only with user consent. The commission mandated that voice and text chat be disabled by default.
Advocates for children’s privacy were delighted with the agreement. According to Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, “kids should likewise have their right to data privacy rights more recognised through this implementation of the federal kids data privacy law.”