According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Tim Sweeney slapped Fortnite with a massive fine of over half a million dollars and had some words of wisdom to share on social media. Since Epic Games is currently the torchbearer for the battle royale genre in many ways, the whole situation serves as a reminder of what not to do. He said:
“Developers should dig into the topic as this settlement reflects the latest US regulatory practices. We are now applying principles similar to the UK Age-Appropriate Design Code for voice chat defaults. In-app purchases are also a popular topic , with strict expectations of “Affirmative Express Consent” for purchases made in both real money and paid virtual currencies.”
Considering this is the largest payout from a video game company to the FTC, it’s quite iconic in many ways. That said, many details about refunds related to V-Bucks and other cosmetic items have yet to be revealed to the public.
What are the main changes Epic Games has made to Fortnite since the early days?
Because one of the main issues related to the Item Shop and the purchase of cosmetics in-game a lot of effort went into fixing it. While there is still a lot of work to be done, the developers have provided an update on the changes made over the years so far:
- No pay-to-win or pay-to-progress mechanics in in-game player experiences
- No paid item loot boxes since 2019 and no more in-game gambling
- Round-trip ticket system that enables self-service refunds on eligible digital goods without needing to provide a reason in-game
- Immediate cancellations of cosmetic purchases made with V-bucks, with a recently extended short-term cancellation period
- A hold-to-purchase mechanism for all in-game purchases
- An updated chargeback policy
- An explicit yes and no option to store payment information
In addition to these changes, it is very likely that stricter guidelines will be implemented for the Article store and in-game purchases. Players can expect changes over time. In addition to changes to the way purchases and transactions take place, more security measures have been implemented for players:
- Parental controls easily accessible from the Fortnite Lobby main menu and the Epic Account portal
- Parental controls, with the option to require a PIN to send/accept friend requests and allow parents to authorize purchases before making in-game purchases
- Daily spending limit for Fortnite players under 13
- Detailed chat privacy options
- Cabined Account that offers a tailored experience that is safe and inclusive for younger players while they wait for parental approval
- Sets the default to the highest privacy option for players under 18, including voice and text chat defaults to “Nobody”.
As part of the application related to better safety features for young players, these guidelines serve as a good recommendation for others video games also. With gamers getting younger by the year, the need for security during online sessions is more important than ever before.
Is Fortnite safe for kids?
Epic games has rolled out numerous restrictions and safety features for children in the past year alone. As long as these safety mechanics adhere to FTC guidelines, Fortnite is safe for kids on paper.
As mentioned in the blog, the developers will do everything they can to give young players a good gaming experience. Occasionally, however, deviations will occur.
For example, if a well-known teammate becomes toxic, the blame cannot be shifted to Epic Games. Parental guidelines apply here and the toxic teammate in question will have to be removed from the player list.
There will be many more such instances in the game, including grief during gameplay or being targeted by teammates. In such situations, young players will have to figure out the best course of action with the help of their parents. Nevertheless, Epic Games has come a long way and has a lot more “Fortnites” to go.
Fortnite players get up to 400 free V-Bucks, you know more here.