FTC Extends Deadline for Fortnite Gamers to Claim Compensation in Landmark Settlement with Epic Games

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

WASHINGTON, D..C. — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given Fortnite gamers and their guardians a lifeline, extending the deadline to submit a claim for compensation following its 2023 settlement with Epic Games. The new deadline, now set for February 29, 2024, offers an opportunity for those affected by the video game manufacturer’s alleged deceptive practices to seek redress.

This landmark case centered around allegations that Epic Games used dark patterns, a term for user interface design choices that trick users into making decisions they might not otherwise make, to coax players into making unwanted purchases within the Fortnite game.

As part of the settlement, Epic agreed to pay a hefty $245 million, which the FTC is using to pay out claims. In September and October, more than 37 million people were notified via email about their potential eligibility for compensation. The original deadline for submitting a claim was January 17, 2024.

The concept of dark patterns has increasingly come under scrutiny, particularly in the digital space where they are often employed to manipulate consumers’ behavior subtly. They can take various forms, such as confusing wording, hidden charges, and complex opt-out processes. In the case of Fortnite, a popular online video game with millions of players worldwide, the alleged use of such tactics has significant implications.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing consumers in the digital age. The use of dark patterns is not limited to video games; it’s prevalent across various online platforms, including e-commerce sites, social media, and apps. This makes the FTC’s action against Epic Games not just about recouping losses for Fortnite gamers but also about setting a precedent for how companies conduct business online.

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The FTC’s decision to extend the deadline for claims further highlights the importance of this issue. It underscores the agency’s commitment to ensuring that all eligible parties have ample opportunity to participate in the compensation process.

Those looking to submit a claim can do so online at the FTC’s official website. Importantly, claimants need not submit receipts or other documentation at this stage, and their Fortnite account will not be affected by their claim. Any questions about the claims process can be directed to the designated administrator via phone or email.

This story is not just about a single video game or company; it’s indicative of broader issues in our digital economy. The Epic Games settlement could serve as a watershed moment in the fight against deceptive practices online. It sends a clear message to other companies that the use of dark patterns and similar tactics will not go unchecked. This case, and others like it, may well shape the future of consumer protection in the digital world.

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