Fortnite, a hard drug for our children?  $500 million fine for Epic Games -

Fortnite, a hard drug for our children? $500 million fine for Epic Games –

The Fortnite video game is accused of violating the privacy of children and pushing them to make purchases in its online store. Publisher Epic Games has just been hit with a record $500 million fine by the FTC, which could usher in a new era for the gaming industry…

In France, as throughout the world, many children and adolescents love the Fortnite video game. They can play it for hours and hours, so much so that passion sometimes seems to border on addiction

This is not just an impression, as the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just imposed a fine of $520 million in epic games For good reason, he believes that the editor of Fortnite jeopardizes children’s privacy.

The firm is accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by implementing ” since design tricks, called dark patternsto trick millions of players into making inadvertent purchases “.

Fortnite pushes kids to buy skins

In reality, the $520 million fine is divided into two trials. The fine for violation of COPPA is $275 million, and it is The largest sanction in the history of the FTC. Epic is accused of allowing children to make purchases too easily and of collecting personal information about them without informing their parents or obtaining their consent.

At the same time, the commission also imposes a second fine of $245 million on Epic to reimburse the ” billing practices and shady patterns “. Again, this is a record amount for reimbursement in the history of video games.

Dark patterns are techniques used on the internet to trick users into doing things against their will. In this case, what Fortnite is accused of is his ” counter-intuitive, inconsistent and confusing button layout main players to make unintentional purchases pressing a single button “.

For example, players could be taken simply trying to wake the game from sleep mode, while the game was loading, or even just trying to preview a virtual item. According to the FTC, millions of dollars have been spent by accident due to this deceptive tactic.

Young Fortnite players exposed to bullying

In addition, the FTC also condemns the voice and text communication features, which are set to be enabled by default. This expose children to bullying and other forms of abuse, especially since Epic has no way of ensuring that children and adults don’t butt heads during online gaming.

According to the FTC press release, while playing Fortnite, children have been exposed to threatsbullying, and even psychologically traumatic problems such as suicide Once again, Epic has taken steps to redeem itself with a new “In-Cabin Accounts” feature.

If a player registers with a date of birth under digital age of consent country, features such as messaging and online shopping are disabled. In France, this age is set at 15 years.

Also, when a child signs up for the game, their parents will be notified by email and they can adjust the account settings as they see fit. This feature is already available for games” Fortnite », « Fall Guys ” Y ” rocket league from the editor

One of Epic Games’ future projects is the creation of a metaverse entirely dedicated to children, in partnership with Lego. Therefore, it seems imperative that the company take strong measures to protect children and avoid forcing them to buy…

A drop in the ocean of dollars earned by Fortnite

For now, Epic Games has agreed to pay both fines. In a press release, the firm states, however, that “ laws written decades ago they do not specify how video game ecosystems should operate. The laws have not changed, but their applications have evolved and traditional industry practices are no longer sufficient. “.

Despite this bitter observation, Epic explains that “ we accept this agreement, because we want Epic to be at the forefront consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players “.

The company also claims that it has updated your payment flows to provide the option to save or not save payment information, a purchase cancellation feature, and self-service refunds. Suffice it to say that the firm seems determined to repent.

Please note that these fines do not represent not much for epic games. For good reason, Fortnite reported $9 billion in revenue only for its first two years of existence.

Either way, this sanction should remind other video game companies that the rules must be taken seriously. It could be him beginning of a new era for the industryforced to do away with misleading interfaces…

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