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Epic Games Fined €1.1 Million in Netherlands Court for Misleading Underage Children

AleksandarK

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Epic Games, the developer behind the battle royale game Fortnite, has been slapped with a hefty fine of €1.1 million for violating EU consumer laws and pressuring youngsters into making in-game purchases. This decision was made by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) following an investigation into the company's practices. The ACM found that Epic Games had failed to provide clear information about the nature of its in-game purchases, particularly to children. This lack of transparency led to many young players making unintended purchases, which was a clear violation of EU consumer protection laws. The authority also noted that Epic Games' practices were designed to encourage children to make frequent purchases, which further deepens the issue. Netherlands' ACM claims that these were "dark patterns" which are prohibited in the EU. More specifically, these were "Get it now" or "Buy now" phrases that pushed youngsters into making choices. One fine is for illegal aggressive commercial practice that created fear of missing out (FOMO), which is calculated at €562,500. Another €562,500 is fined on countdown timers, which were used in the Item Shop for items that were still available even after the timer had reached zero. This totals €1.125 million.

In response to the fine, Epic Games has announced its intention to appeal the decision. This fine serves as a significant reminder to game developers of the importance of transparency and consumer protection in the gaming industry. As the popularity of online gaming continues to grow, companies must prioritize the well-being and financial security of their young players. The ACM's decision sends a strong message that such practices will not be tolerated and that companies must take responsibility for their actions. The fine is significant, and it will be interesting to see how Epic Games responds to the decision. In a statement for GameIndustry.biz, Epic Games has noted that "The findings in the ACM's decision contain significant factual errors about how Fortnite and the Item Shop operate. The ACM is mandating changes that would result in a poor experience for players. We will appeal this decision. While our appeal is pending, players in the Netherlands that are under the age of 18 will not be able to see or purchase items that are in the shop for less than 48 hours, beginning May 24, 2024."



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This is just the cost of doing business for them. They certainly profited far more than 1 million through those pratices.
 

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Good. I am sometimes envious of the consumer protection practices in the EU. We don't have a lot of that here in America.

However, 1.1 million Euros is pocket change to Epic. I wouldn't even call it a slap on the wrist. We're talking about a company with 5.6 billion USD in revenue last year and a profit of 720 million USD.
 
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Do these companies even end up paying these fines ? Because in most cases that I know of, they usually appeal and get a much lower fine or don't have to pay anything at all.

It seems that every time it goes like this : Headline with huge amount of money a company has to pay -> gives the impression that governments are doing their job protecting consumers -> company appeals and ends up paying a lot less or nothing at all -> this usually doesn't make the headlines so most people never find this out.
 
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Only 1.1Mil? They get that in one week in Netherlands...
Nah. This is a precedent. Keep going and those millions will keep getting added. Its a slap on the wrist. The hammer is eventually happening.

The EU drew the line. Look at GDPR. It wont go away. Companies either get in line or GTFO.

Nuke em all I say. This is why we have the EU. Go go go
 
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Good, targeting kids with in-game microtransactions is a total scumbag move.
 
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Companies either get in line or GTFO.
Well it didn't stop Intel, still to pay that AMD fine, neither for Apple, nor MS(?) & you could argue Google as well. Although Google is the hardest hit among them.
 
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Well it didn't stop Intel, still to pay that AMD fine, neither for Apple, nor MS(?) & you could argue Google as well. Although Google is the hardest hit among them.
Good things take time. Nobody can deny the companies depend on us as much as we depend on them. So it takes time. But the underlying principles of the EU haven't changed one bit. The goal hasn't changed. The steps might, but the goal won't.

If you shift the lens to gaming though, every single EU intervention has directly had its effect. I remember a not so recent shitstorm regarding Ubisoft; Belgian ban on the lootbox and it being under scrutiny in most surrounding countries; and now there is this. And somehow, all these annoying principles still don't force companies to leave us behind. Could it be, just maybe, that governments doing their job is actually effective? But I agree with you in the basic sense of that... they need to actually do their job. Protection takes effort, continuously.
 
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The idea isn't wrong but just like say over here, or in the US, I question whether the lawmakers actually want to make a difference or it's just smoke & mirrors? Polity & businesses have an ending Ouroboros type relationship, that's not changing in our lifetimes!
Loop Glow GIF by xponentialdesign
Art Loop GIF by xponentialdesign

You know like why former Presidents/PM aren't thrown in jail for obvious crimes or fraud?
 
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The idea isn't wrong but just like say over here, or in the US, I question whether the lawmakers actually want to make a difference or it's just smoke & mirrors? Polity & businesses have an ending Ouroboros type relationship, that's not changing in our lifetimes!
Loop Glow GIF by xponentialdesign
Art Loop GIF by xponentialdesign

You know like why former Presidents/PM aren't thrown in jail for obvious crimes or fraud?
Since we live in democracies, the simple answer is that its not smoke and mirrors, its the harsh reality. Every EU citizen can be making laws, the positions are open to everyone with the required skillset. Its strange how these simple things need an explanation. The adversity to anything 'government' doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. Government consists of citizens.

The answer why things go slow is that things are difficult. If it was easy we'd have solved it; we've written a history of easy solutions haven't we. Quite often it involved death threats or actual death, or any range of other unpleasantries. By contrast... today we're talking about it. But the same conflicts happen. Conflicts of interests.
 
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If it takes govts decades to course correct on core issues like climate change, tighter banking regulations, food safety, arms control & of course religion it isn't just because these things are difficult. And by govt I mean the lawmakers, you're telling me every European laws in the last few decades has been good/right for the people? Or that any delays in implementation or even framing of the laws was not due to undue influence of big businesses? How about parking money in Luxembourg or Ireland by the likes of Apple & Co? It's also oversimplifying in some ways the geopolitical ramifications of any decision the lawmakers take ~ China or Russia probably benefiting the most in recent years pre Covid.

The point being the influence of corporations has only ever increased & not in a good way, whether you're in the US/EU or anywhere else in the world.
 
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If it takes govts decades to course correct on core issues like climate change, tighter banking regulations, food safety, arms control & of course religion it isn't just because these things are difficult. And by govt I mean the lawmakers, you're telling me every European laws in the last few decades has been good/right for the people? Or that any delays in implementation or even framing of the laws was not due to undue influence of big businesses? How about parking money in Luxembourg or Ireland by the likes of Apple & Co? It's also oversimplifying in some ways the geopolitical ramifications of any decision the lawmakers take ~ China or Russia probably benefiting the most in recent years pre Covid.

The point being the influence of corporations has only ever increased & not in a good way, whether you're in the US/EU or anywhere else in the world.
All these elements you mention are things that make it all so difficult, aren't they?

The world is the world. As far as the EU doing the right thing... hell no. We've been asleep at the wheel geopolitically... But in the consumer space? Yeah I think most if not all decisions are progress.

The point being the influence of corporations has only ever increased & not in a good way, whether you're in the US/EU or anywhere else in the world.
I agree, and its a bad thing.
 
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1.1 million?

Epic pull in $15M/day. This is 30 minutes of revenue to them.

€500 million would be a two-month setback that might actually be enough of a slap on the wrist to make them change something.
 
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Oh no!
How they going to recover from this :D
 
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really....1.1 million. That isnt even enough to let corporate know about it get out the petty cash box and pay it.
 
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Dutch regulatory agency president about to write the fine to Epic:


But Epic is far from the prime target here. Wait until they discover gacha games. They operate entirely on a FOMO basis.
 
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This fine serves as a significant reminder to game developers
NOPE.... what this puny, almost insignificant fine reminds them of is that if they break the laws, all they will get is a slap on the wrist, write it off in the next accounting cycle, and carry on as usual....

Now $1.1B, yea that might make them pay attention, at least for a little while anyways :)
 
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These fines just don't take multibillion dollar companies into account. They should be doing multiples of their annual income as punishment amounts.
 
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Since we live in democracies, the simple answer is that its not smoke and mirrors, its the harsh reality. Every EU citizen can be making laws, the positions are open to everyone with the required skillset. Its strange how these simple things need an explanation. The adversity to anything 'government' doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. Government consists of citizens.

The answer why things go slow is that things are difficult. If it was easy we'd have solved it; we've written a history of easy solutions haven't we. Quite often it involved death threats or actual death, or any range of other unpleasantries. By contrast... today we're talking about it. But the same conflicts happen. Conflicts of interests.
Please define Democracy.

You call what we have in Canada a democracy? That is laughable at best. Dictatorship/Communism is a better term. Canada's current government is as corrupt and perverted as it gets. Smoke and Mirrors is all the average citizen gets. And no, our current federal government doesnt consist of citizens. It consists of corrupt and perverted cronies from top to bottom. Scandal after scandal.

So yes, lots of smoke and mirrors here.
 
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Dutch regulatory agency president about to write the fine to Epic:


But Epic is far from the prime target here. Wait until they discover gacha games. They operate entirely on a FOMO basis.
Gacha games, ranging from genshin impact all the way down to Fifa UT (well, now EAFC UT), they are absolutely predatory and manipulative.

Fifa specially panders to children, hell I'm pretty sure they are responsible for all the jokes of kids stealing their parent's credit cards.
 
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Please define Democracy.

You call what we have in Canada a democracy? That is laughable at best. Dictatorship/Communism is a better term. Canada's current government is as corrupt and perverted as it gets. Smoke and Mirrors is all the average citizen gets. And no, our current federal government doesnt consist of citizens. It consists of corrupt and perverted cronies from top to bottom. Scandal after scandal.

So yes, lots of smoke and mirrors here.
Geeze. You sure wouldn't like it in a real dictatorship.
 
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If get it now or buy now is pressuring poor little kids into buying stuff. How will they survive the real world?

Anyways micro transactions should be banned the sooner the better.
 
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