Hey Fortnite lovers, you may have some coins coming your way.
Fortnite studio Epic Games faced a broad $520 million settlement last December, and now players are able to claim their refund.
The settlement was with the Federal Trade Commission, also known as FTC. The FTC alleged that Fortnite’s more than 400 million worldwide players were being tricked into accidentally buying in-game goods because of Fortnite’s design system, and having their accounts locked when they reported wrongful charges with their credit card companies.
Now, players of the popular online battle royale game are able to apply for a refund, getting part of the $245 million settled. You can apply online, if any of the following is true, according to the FTC:
“You were charged in-game currency for items you didn’t want between January 2017 and September 2022, your child made charges to your credit card without your knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018…
Your account was locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after you complained to your credit card company about wrongful charges.”
You must be over 18 to apply, or have a parent or guardian apply for you. The deadline to apply is January 17, 2024. Right now, it’s uncertain when payments will be sent out or how much each person will receive. However, players are being sent monthly emails from the FTC until the deadline, so it’s likely new information will come soon.
This $245 million settlement was also a part of a larger settlement with the FTC, with the other half of the $520 million penalty being for violating underage players’ privacy according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). The FTC alleged that users under 13 were having their information collected without player consent. Also, they alleged that underage Fortnite users’ safety was in jeopardy since the game enables text and voice chat by default, saying, “children and teens have been bullied, threatened, harassed, and exposed to dangerous and psychologically traumatizing issues such as suicide while on Fortnite.”
Epic responded last December by creating “Cabined Accounts,” in not just Fortnite, but also other games Rocket League and Fall Guys. These accounts are for children under 13 that have disabled features like text and voice chat and in-game purchases. Epic agreed to pay the $275 million penalty for the violation.
You can visit www.ftc.gov/Fortnite to apply for your refund.
By Caileigh Winslade, Freshman, DePaul University
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