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Epic Games ordered to pay $245 million to players tricked into making "unwanted" purchases using dark patterns

https://www.gamesradar.com/fortnite...ayers-tricked-into-making-unwanted-purchases/
The sum has been finalised three months after the FTC complaint was announced

Epic Games has been ordered to pay $245 million to Fortnite players after using "dark patterns" to trick them into making unintentional purchases and letting children do so without involvement from a parent.

That comes from the United States Federal Trade Commission, which announced the penalty sum has been finalised following the complaint's initial announcement last December.

The FTC accused Epic of using design tricks to lull players of all ages into making unintended in-game purchases.

"Fortnite's counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button," an FTC press release reads. "The company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent."

The FTC also alleged that Epic locked the accounts of people who disputed the unauthorised charges with their credit card companies.


Now, the FTC has revealed Epic must pay $245 million to put that all right, which will be used to refund players affected.

"The order also prohibits Epic from charging consumers through the use of dark patterns or from otherwise charging consumers without obtaining their affirmative consent," the press release continues. "Additionally, the order bars Epic from blocking consumers from accessing their accounts for disputing unauthorised charges."

"dark patterns"
"inconsistent, confusing button configuration"
"Without parental consent"
"press of a single button"

Who is "letting" the children get charged and "who" is the one who has their account connected to the service to BE charged?

Bad parenting gets you paid and blame free once again.
 
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01011001

Banned
the fact that Fortnite had a single button press to buy for so long is surprising given that that's not allowed in the EU to begin with.

I noticed them changing it only very recently
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Easy way to make mtx purchases harder to kids. Cant they just add a password or pin code needed? I dont play Fortnite so maybe there are already purchase barriers. But if the parents are too dumb or lazy to activate it, it's on them.

My bro had an issue his kid did some dumb purchases too on a different game. Turns out he just left his credit card info on the account in the open "hoping he'd not buy anything without asking". Hmmm.... guess what happened? Dumbass.

When I buy stocks, even if someone hacks into my account knowing my login and password name, they still need to know my trading password when buying, selling or transferring cash to different accounts.
 
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Bojanglez

The Amiga Brotherhood
To be fair I think Epic have actually become pretty good at their practices in Fortnite now (maybe due to this kind of pressure), it used to be purposefully confusing and no ability to refund. I make sure my son has no ability to buy, so that's not a problem, but even I once accidentally clicked to buy a skin and was surprised how easy it was to just undo the purchase.
 

Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
https://www.gamesradar.com/fortnite...ayers-tricked-into-making-unwanted-purchases/


"dark patterns"
"inconsistent, confusing button configuration"
"Without parental consent"
"press of a single button"

Who is "letting" the children get charged and "who" is the one who has their account connected to the service to BE charged?

Bad parenting gets you paid and blame free once again.
It’s like you didn’t even read the article. What part of “designed to trick people into spending money via UI choices” don’t you understand?
 

diffusionx

Gold Member
Companies design these games to be addictive, and they design them to get you to pay. It's like a casino, except unlike a casino, there is nobody telling a 10 year old they can't sit at the table and start playing.

These companies deserve responsibility for putting this stuff in front of people and using psychological tricks to get you addicted, period. This is a scourge.
 

ScHlAuChi

Member
How were those kids old enough to have a credit card?
Oh they werent?
So basically the parents didnt do their fucking job to take care of their kids!

Translation: I´m back in abit, dont do anything stupid!
20011107-keinenunsinn.jpg
 
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justiceiro

Marlboro: Other M
You must be one of those people that were confused by the button configuration.
I will create a game that between every level offer you 5 gems for 10$. I will give you two buttons in that screen: "i should think more about it" and "i won't regret this". I will also change which button is on the left and which color in it has every time, just to switch things up.

If you end up choosing the button that buys the gem, that on you, cant complain, ok?
 

StereoVsn

Gold Member
Need to go more after these gotcha/mtx companies that utilize dark patterns.

Yes, parents should offer more supervision, but we shouldn't reward these shit corpos.
 
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Reactions: Fuz

gothmog

Gold Member
This is good. Fortnite is a better product without this predatory shit. It's now generous while still allowing them to profit from the FOMO crowd.
 

reinking

Gold Member
Those of you blaming parents have probably never had to walk your mom through a phone menu or teach her how to use a streaming box. :messenger_squinting_tongue:

Regardless of if I like the company, any company that purposely makes things confusing to extract money should be punished. Good job on the FTC to hold them accountable. Those defending the practice, why?
 
About the kids just deciding to use their parent's credit card for in game purchases without parental consent and lacking self control, this reminds me of that psychological study.

The study was about a group of researchers that left the kids in a room with a little piece of candy, the researcher said they are allowed to eat the candy, but if they waited a little bit longer (a few minutes more), they would be rewarded with more with candy.

Follow up studies on these kids years later, revealed sobering truths. The ones that lacked self control and ate the candy right away instead of delaying gratification for a bigger reward, were less likely to attend college, less likely to learn a trade, more likely to use drugs, more likely to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior, more likely to get into trouble with the law, more likely to be on government social services, etc. The kids that delayed gratification and waited for a much bigger reward? Most of them became very productive and very successful members of society.

Now what group do you think these kids using their parent's credit card without parental consent will most likely fall in?
 

RespawnX

Member
Those of you blaming parents have probably never had to walk your mom through a phone menu or teach her how to use a streaming box. :messenger_squinting_tongue:

Regardless of if I like the company, any company that purposely makes things confusing to extract money should be punished. Good job on the FTC to hold them accountable. Those defending the practice, why?

People without kids, without social connections and without unterstanding for fraudulent business practices. In short: neither social nor economical skills.

Since we are also talking about the protection of children here, I think the penalty is too low. Of course, anyone who has even the slightest idea of marketing or business knows that a sustainable business relationship is always better. Unless managers without social or economic skills think they know better - for a short time. I smell layoffs and Tencent vibes.

It's no secret that kids screw up when they have the opportunity. Anyone who thinks parents can and always have to be on the spot everywhere definitely doesn't have any kids at home. That's why their protection is of special importance in virtually every law system - by society as a whole.
 

Fbh

Member
It's hard to say how justified this is without seeing any proper examples.
Though it sounds like they had confusing one click purchases that didn't make it clear that you were buying something with real money. If that's the case then yeah it's good they are being forced to refund people and told to change how purchases work.

With that said I also don't get why people link their credit cards to anything other than subscription services. Are the 10 seconds it takes to type your CC information really that bothersome you'd rather give your kid unlimited access to it?

245 mil. So whats that to epic, a weekends takings?

Fortnite makes epic like $5 billion a year.
So that's what? like 13,5 million a day?

Of course that's revenue and not profit. But still, this will will barely sting them
 

lukilladog

Member
Sad that stupidity isn't a crime.

Having a relatively high IQ doesn't mean you have the tools or the knowledge to defend yourself of an army of corporate rats highly trained in human behaviour, mind theory, and the psychology of addictions, among other things. Most people defending this type of stuff has probably been captured and they don't even know it.
 

Fuz

Banned
Follow up studies on these kids years later, revealed sobering truths. The ones that lacked self control and ate the candy right away instead of delaying gratification for a bigger reward, were less likely to attend college, less likely to learn a trade, more likely to use drugs, more likely to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior, more likely to get into trouble with the law, more likely to be on government social services, etc. The kids that delayed gratification and waited for a much bigger reward? Most of them became very productive and very successful members of society.
The first ones sounds like decent, real people.
The second ones sounds like corporate piece of shit, soulless robots, obedient sheep. "Productive".
 
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Gaiff

Member
Having a relatively high IQ doesn't mean you have the tools or the knowledge to defend yourself of an army of corporate rats highly trained in human behaviour, mind theory, and the psychology of addictions, among other things. Most people defending this type of stuff has probably been captured and they don't even know it.
Having a high IQ doesn't mean someone is intelligent at all. Furthermore, you don't need high a IQ to have common sense.
 
Those of you blaming parents have probably never had to walk your mom through a phone menu or teach her how to use a streaming box.

What does that have to do with a parent who had their banking connected to an account and didn't remove it or even allowed it in the first place without supervision?
 

Felessan

Member
Having a relatively high IQ doesn't mean you have the tools or the knowledge to defend yourself of an army of corporate rats highly trained in human behaviour, mind theory, and the psychology of addictions, among other things. Most people defending this type of stuff has probably been captured and they don't even know it.
And some patterns (most beloved by marketing) are almost unavoidable no matter how high your IQ is (and some explicitly target high IQ). You need prior knowledge how it works and some training to not fall into cognitive bias trap, even if you are natural smart and highly educated.
 
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goldenpp72

Member
I kind of have 2 minds of this situation, on one hand, parents should be more responsible (and punishing) of their children who end up going down this path. On the other hand, it is scummy that publishers purposely employ things to try and exploit and prey on users, it's kind of a point where both sides are shit.
 
Those of you blaming parents have probably never had to walk your mom through a phone menu or teach her how to use a streaming box. :messenger_squinting_tongue:

Regardless of if I like the company, any company that purposely makes things confusing to extract money should be punished. Good job on the FTC to hold them accountable. Those defending the practice, why?

Gamers will defend anything
 
ngl, we should find the psychologists who get paid to design this shit and exile them to antarctica. the human species is shooting itself in the face due to our brains more or less being entirely fucked by a few jackasses who are willing to weaponize their degrees for 100k a year.
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
In my country transaction security has recently been changed to a whole another level. So as a default now every card transaction made on my cards online has to go through a two factor process with a special security app and a password. A CV code is no longer sufficient. My kids wouldn't be able to buy anything on my cards no matter how hard they would've tried.
 
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reinking

Gold Member
What does that have to do with a parent who had their banking connected to an account and didn't remove it or even allowed it in the first place without supervision?
Because if a parent did not understand how the system works due to the confusion? Even if you want to argue the parents should educate themselves, it still does not excuse a company for setting up a system that relies on confusion in an effort to game the system for more money. That is the part you seem to believe is excusable. I disagree.

Plus.. ...you know the winky emoji was to indicate I was sort of joking about that specific part of my reply?
 
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How were those kids old enough to have a credit card?
Oh they werent?
So basically the parents didnt do their fucking job to take care of their kids!

Translation: I´m back in abit, dont do anything stupid!
20011107-keinenunsinn.jpg
You can spot the people who never had kids a mile away.
 
Because if a parent did not understand how the system works due to the confusion?

You add card

or you remove card

or you leave it in and act surprised that the kid would possible access your free to access card already on the account for purposes.

Where is the confusion for the PARENT?

The literally have nothing to do with the game, the problem with the spending comes from a lack of critical thinking from the adults (along with poor raising of the kids that such a thing isn't a good idea but the card should have been removed in the first place.) remember the parents had to add the banking details for SOME reason in the FIRST place.

When they did so, if they were concerned that maybe more money may come out, then it would have been for a specific thing or things, and they should have removed it. Otherwise the parents are either too dumb to remove the card, expected the kid to not empty their checking account, or figured that they could handle the costs of a few rouge transactions.

At some point as a parent you can't be protected all the time form bad mistakes, eventually the kid gets old enough where those mistakes can backfire. Some of this stuff is incredibly simple step-by-step stuff.
 
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reinking

Gold Member
At some point as a parent you can't be protected all the time form bad mistakes, eventually the kid gets old enough where those mistakes can backfire. Some of this stuff is incredibly simple step-by-step stuff.
True, but everyone should be protected from predatory behavior. Not sure why you can't see that point.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
You add card

or you remove card

or you leave it in and act surprised that the kid would possible access your free to access card already on the account for purposes.

Where is the confusion for the PARENT?

The literally have nothing to do with the game, the problem with the spending comes from a lack of critical thinking from the adults (along with poor raising of the kids that such a thing isn't a good idea but the card should have been removed in the first place.) remember the parents had to add the banking details for SOME reason in the FIRST place.

When they did so, if they were concerned that maybe more money may come out, then it would have been for a specific thing or things, and they should have removed it. Otherwise the parents are either too dumb to remove the card, expected the kid to not empty their checking account, or figured that they could handle the costs of a few rouge transactions.

At some point as a parent you can't be protected all the time form bad mistakes, eventually the kid gets old enough where those mistakes can backfire. Some of this stuff is incredibly simple step-by-step stuff.
Lazy ass parents.

It's like Netflix. My bro puts a 4 digit passcode on his account. I dont share using his NF account anymore, but only he, his wife and me know the code. If his kids wanted to watch NF, he types in the secret code and then watches the kids to make sure they dont pick something inappropriate on the family TV.

Doesn't sound hard to me. Problem solved.

But some some reason he was laissez-faire on his kid's gaming account where his son could buy whatever he wanted since he had no locks/pin code on credit card purchases. So he bought a bunch of dumb shit. But thankfully, my bro got his money back submitting a request no problem.
 
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