The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Monday that Epic Games has agreed to pay $520M USD to settle two civil complaints filed by the agency that claimed it violated online privacy protection laws related to children and encouraged or tricked players into making purchases in its ultra-popular game Fortnite. The settlement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
One of those claims filed in court alleged that Epic violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) when it collected the personal information of players under the age of 13 but did not inform their parents or guardians.
The FTC also alleged that Epic enabled communications within the game such as real-time audio and text as a default for children and teens, Further, the agency claimed that Epic connected children with strangers–and in some cases–may have subjected them to abusive language and harassment from older users. Finally, the FTC alleged that Epic “intentionally” hid cancel and refund features, making it more difficult for consumers to get their money back on purchases.
An estimated $275M of that $520M will be used to satisfy the COPPA violations, while $245M will be used to pay for consumer refunds.
The FTC says that this is the largest civil settlement in its history. Epic admits no wrongdoing in making this settlement highlight that it simply wants to move beyond these issues.
FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement related to the settlement that this action is part of the agency’s commitment to protect online privacy and deceptive practices, especially as it pertains to children.