Updated on April 4th, 2023
Epic Games Fined Over $500 Million
Epic Games has been fined more than $500 million by the U.S. Department of Justice, the largest fine ever levied against a video game publisher. Epic Games was found to have violated a number of anti-competitive provisions of the Clayton Antitrust Act, including agreements not to compete with each other, not to solicit each other’s customers, and not to disclose confidential information.
The Department of Justice has also filed a civil suit against Epic Games, seeking an injunction that would force the company to disgorge more than $300 million in profits it made from anticompetitive behavior. Epic Games has consistently refused to cooperate with the Department of Justice, and has fought tooth and nail against efforts to hold it accountable for its past actions. This costly legal battle could have a serious impact on Epic Games’ financial stability and future growth.
Epic Games has been fined a whopping $500 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating anti-competitive practices in their popular title Fortnite.
The fine is the largest ever handed down by the FTC, and is designed to “protect consumers and competition” in the video game industry.
Epic Games was found to have agreements in place with various publishers that granted it an advantage in the market. The FTC found that exclusive deals prevented other publishers from releasing Fortnite on the same platforms, causing consumers to lose out.
In addition to the fine, Epic Games was also ordered to implement a compliance program that will monitor future anti-competitive behavior.
This is a huge victory for the FTC, as it sends a clear message to Epic Games and other dominant video game publishers that anti-competitive behavior will not be tolerated.
This case follows a string of controversies involving Epic Games, which has been widely criticized for its alleged abusive practices. In March, the company was sued by Savethechildren for using in-game microtransactions to cross-promote its charity work.
The fine is a huge blow to Epic Games, which is already struggling to compete in the face of fierce competition from the likes of Fortnite Battle Royale developerPUBG.
Epic made a number of unsubstantiated claims in advertising for its "free" Fortnite: Battle Royale game, advertising that the game would not track player locations or monitor players' Fortnite actions outside of the game. In fact, the game routinely tracked players' locations and monitored their in-game activity, including logging keystrokes and transmitting data to Epic's servers.
Additionally, Epic allegedly failed to ensure that its ad campaigns properly informed players about the company's data tracking and sharing practices. In fact, Epic's ad campaigns actively misled players about the extent of their data sharing and Invasion of Children's privacy.
The FTC lawsuit alleges that Epic Games knew its game would be used to track and monitor children but deliberately deceived parents and children about the amount of data their children would share. The FTC alleges that Epic violated the COPPA law by failing to get parental consent before tracking children's locations and observing their in-game activity.
Epic Games has agreed to settle the FTC charges by permanently disclosing all its data tracking and sharing practices, including the use of third-party tracking services, in all its future advertising. Additionally, Epic will be required to pay a $3 million dollar fine, and will be barred from making any false or misleading claims about data collection and sharing practices.
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