Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Nintendo recap. Despite it being a holiday weekend, there was some interesting developments in the Switch world. First off, it was announced that Fortnite’s maker, Epic Games, will pay roughly half a billion dollars to settle legal complaints raised by the FTC around children’s privacy and accidental purchases. I’ll go into detail on that and explain who is eligible for refunds.
In other news, the highly-anticipated Sports Story shadow-dropped onto the eShop along with several other indie titles. Lastly, we got some exciting news for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom that has us stoked for the game’s release. I’ll end by discussing the best Switch games that came out this year that you might have missed. Let’s get going.
Fortnite maker Epic Games will pay $520M to settle FTC complaint
We learned this week that Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has agreed to pay $520 million to settle complaints brought forward by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (Thanks VGC). This isn’t just one but actually two settlements. One deals with the fact that Epic violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information in Fortnite from minors under the age of 13 without parental or guardian consent.
The second settlement centers around Epic issuing $245 million in customer refunds for tricking minors into making in-game purchases on unwanted items. The FTC said,”Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing buttons configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button…for example, players could be charged while attempting to wake the game from sleep mode, while the game was in a loading screen, or by pressing an adjacent button while attempting to preview an item.”
For anyone who has played Fortnite over the last few years, it’s easy to see where these complaints are coming from. Making accidental in-game purchases was all too easy and the process for undoing these purchases wasn’t exactly straightforward. Not to mention, the fact that there wasn’t a system in place that required parents or cardholders to consent to purchases was ridiculous. So it’s good to see changes coming to the game and refunds coming to players.
Another part of the lawsuit centers around the fact that minors have been exposed to harassment, bullying, and mature talk through Fortnite’s voice chat. As part of the settlement, Fortnite’s voice chat will be left off by default going forward. Getting exposed to indecent or mature conversations is bound to happen on any online game with voice chat, so really when a game’s target audience is children it is better to either do away with voice chat or require players to turn it on themselves.
Who is eligible for a Fortnite refund?
According to the official webpage regarding the lawsuit, the FTC plans on making Fortnite refunds (opens in new tab) available to those in the U.S. who meet these criteria:
- Parents whose children made an unauthorized credit card purchase in the Epic Games Store between January 2017 and November 2018
- Fortnite players who were charged in-game currency (V-Bucks) for unwanted in-game items (such as cosmetics, llamas, or battle passes) between January 2017 and September 2022
- Fortnite players whose accounts were locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after disputing unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
How can I get a Fortnite refund?
The refund program has not been set up yet, but the FTC will provide additional information on the refund application process once it has been created.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gets ESRB rating
I’ve got some good news for anyone eagerly awaiting the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (commonly referred to as Breath of the Wild 2). The game has now officially been given an ESRB rating! It’s rated E10+ (just like Breath of the Wild was) for fantasy violence and mild suggestive themes.
Before you sarcastically twirl your fingers in the air and say “Yipee,” let me explain why this is so important. Typically, when a game is ESRB-rated that means that it’s close to completion. In other words, the chances that Tears of the Kingdom will need to get delayed again are much lower at this point. So we’ll likely see the game release on its scheduled release date of May 12, 2023.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that it could get released early like Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was. However, it’s best not to plan on that. I’m fully expecting Nintendo to produce a limited edition Nintendo Switch OLED with a Zelda theme and if that’s the case then the Japanese gaming company will need to plan and release the hardware and Tears of the Kingdom around the same time, so pre-determined launch dates might need to be held to for that reason.
Nintendo’s Holiday Indie Event
Nintendo’s last Indie World Showcase from November revealed that the highly-anticipated Sports Story would be coming to Switch in December. Despite this, there had been no news of the game’s exact release as we got near the end of the year. Then this week, Nintendo hosted something called Inside the House of Indies Holiday Event (opens in new tab) on its website and eShop, which was basically a five-day countdown that shadow-dropped indie games for Switch each day. Everything culminated on Friday with Sports Story being the cherry on top that capped it all off.
This is the sequel to Sidebar Games’ popular Golf Story, which released in 2017. Only now the sequel includes far more sports than the previous one did along with RPG-style dungeons and places to explore. Although it centers on increasing your rank in various sports, this game isn’t just for those who like athletics.
I’ve already purchased the game and have been playing it for a few hours. It’s incredibly fun and there are so many things you can do. Think of it more like an RPG with sports in it rather than a sports game. You really ought to check it out if you haven’t already. It was worth the wait.
All games from Nintendo’s Holiday Indie Event
There are some fun new titles here in addition to Sports Story that are worth checking out.
- Floppy Knights
- Mortal Shell: Complete Edition
- Roman Sands Re:Build
- The Captain
- The Punchuin
- The Gecko Gods
- Risk of Rain Returns
- Sail Forth
- Tin Hearts
- Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
- Hyper Gunsport
- Smile For Me
- Sports Story
Best Switch games from 2022 to play this weekend
Since this is a holiday weekend, I’m highlighting some of the very best Switch games from 2022 that you might have missed out on rather than the latest released games.
Happy holidays, everyone!
It’s one of the last weeks of 2022, which means it’s a good time to reflect back on what happened this year. We’ve had so many awesome Nintendo Switch games release in the past 12 months and many of them walked away as winners in The Game Awards 2022. Whether you’re a long-time Switch owner, just got a new Switch, or upgraded to another model then you really ought to check out any of the games you might not have played yet.
Until next time.
– Rebecca Spear