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Epic Games and Fortnite ban

edited 20 January 2019 at 10:36PM in Gaming MoneySaving
19 replies 6.9K views
daveybuntudaveybuntu Forumite
3 posts
edited 20 January 2019 at 10:36PM in Gaming MoneySaving

My son is an avid Fortnite player. Recently he told me that he was unable to log into the game because he had been banned by the operator, Epic Games.

We contacted them and they were fairly unhelpful, suggesting that he had been detected 'hacking' or cheating in some way and that as a consequence of this, he would be banned permanently. They seem to have some means of determining that it is his computer that he is on, and he can therefore not even sign up as another user.

Now, while I could be wrong, I'm quite sure that at the age of 13 he possesses neither the skills nor knowledge to hack anything. He certainly isn't able to circumvent my WiFi restrictions, so I'm sure he couldn't hack an online game.

I subsequently contacted Epic Games, and have found them to be completely opaque and obtuse about this issue. They have made me jump through quite a few hoops to prove my identity, only to apparently conclude our dialogue the same way as they did my son's.

Their line is that their system has detected cheating or hacking or using some kind of software in order to gain an advantage in the game. They refuse to go into any detail at all, and continue to maintain their position that the ban will not be lifted.

In some ways I'm actually quite glad of this because he's been spending far too much time on this game... and I really don't understand what it's about, which is making me feel really old. I do however know that he has spent money (mainly mine I guess) buying it, or subscribing perhaps; maybe around £50 plus in-app purchases of some kind. So I am now faced with attempting to pursue this matter out of a point of principle (I am inclined to believe my son's assertion that he has done nothing wrong).

So, I'm wondering if anyone has had any similar experiences with this company, or if anyone can offer any advice. I am struggling to get my head around whether this practice is compliant with UK/EU legislation regarding online in-game purchases, or perhaps even trading standards regulations. I have asked Epic Games this, but I'm not confident I will receive a reply!

They seem determined not to offer any kind of meaningful explanation, or to lay out the specific allegations against my son. They also offer literally no form of redress. I have read online that they have an automated system for detection of hacking/cheating, and have in the past, been forced to renege when a large number of false-positive results were detected. This is not something they seem to be willing to concede though. All of my discussions with them thus far have been undertaken via email. They do have a customer service line, but it's based in the USA and I'm not really prepared to cover the cost of calling them as I fear they may still not budge on the matter.

They do seem like a fairly unhelpful company with a rather dubious business practise.


  • iammumtooneiammumtoone Forumite
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    Could it be they have means to detect something he said?

    My son got a ban from roblox as he mentioned hacking in the chat. He was 10 at the time and had no idea what hacking is, its just a word to him but still got him a ban as of course the developers didn't take his age and understanding into consideration.
  • edited 21 January 2019 at 5:41PM
    Johnmcl7Johnmcl7 Forumite
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    edited 21 January 2019 at 5:41PM
    If he's playing on the PC it's very easy to cheat at the game as you can simply search for a hack, download and install it then play the game. The difficulty isn't the cheating it's avoiding getting caught and banned.

    I'm not familiar with Fortnite but on other games where parents are posting on behalf of children who have been banned because they are too good or framed or similar and every time it's been shown the child was lying. You are correct there was a batch of false positives a couple of months ago which has been addressed but I've seen nothing about another similar batch which I'd expect to see for a game as large as Fortnite.

    Unfortunately as you mention Epic will not discuss bans so I can't recommend how to proceed.
  • SuperPikachuSuperPikachu Forumite
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    Get him an active hobby or learn an instrument and tell him to not waste hundreds of hours of his life in a completely pointless online game. Yes it's an escape and kids like the be moody but he may thank you one day!
    "Wild Pikachu appeared!"
  • DCFC79DCFC79 Forumite
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    Cant see how trading standards regulations were broken here or even UK/EU legislation plays a part in your complaint.
  • edited 21 January 2019 at 5:51PM
    177.8K posts
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    edited 21 January 2019 at 5:51PM
    daveybuntu wrote: »
    Now, while I could be wrong, I'm quite sure that at the age of 13 he possesses neither the skills nor knowledge to hack anything

    You are wrong. The most prolific hackers and cheaters in games are young kids, especially on console games. They learn how to do it from Youtube videos. Don't assume that just because he's 13 he doesn't know how to follow simple instructions.
    daveybuntu wrote: »
    I am struggling to get my head around whether this practice is compliant with UK/EU legislation regarding online in-game purchases, or perhaps even trading standards regulations.

    When you sign up for a Fortnite account there are terms and conditions you agree to with penalties for various breaches.

    Going back to the legislation there is some legislation that applies however it is legislation you need to be worried about, not hoping to use as a defence. Technically he could have committed an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.
  • edited 23 January 2019 at 8:15AM
    forgotmynameforgotmyname Forumite
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    edited 23 January 2019 at 8:15AM
    If he knows howto run the game he would know howto use google and howto run a cheat.

    Google cheats, download and simply double click it.

    The lack of response from them is not a surprise, they probably ban lots of people and cant be bothered to look into every case. Just fob you off with read the terms and conditions.

    Been there and done it. An EA game.. Seems you have to notify them if you have more than one player in the household. Stupid rule.
    Spoilt the game for us and for other players because its a game where you trade and i had other peoples stuff in my stock when they banned me. In the middle of trades.
    Censorship Reigns Supreme in Troll City...

  • RetrogamerRetrogamer Forumite
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    "Hacking" is a very broad buzzword people use to describe any form of cheating.

    It is possible your son has discovered a glitch in the game somewhere. A glitch is where there is a problem with the games programming and alloys for various weird things to happen, such as moving through walls, falling through the floor.
    If someone experiences a glitch like that and then tries to manipulate or abuse the glitch gain an unfair advantage the game's software automatically detects this and will ban the player.

    I wouldn't be so quick to believe your sons assertion that he done nothing wrong. Although it is possible he is innocent of, the vast majority of the time the developers correct.
  • pillar11pillar11 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    Fortnite ban system is automated and a really good one. It doesn't ban someone if they are playing clean.
  • CiriasCirias Forumite
    68 posts
    Tell him to play Realm Royale instead, far better than Fortnite I've found :)
  • edited 1 February 2019 at 3:39PM
    229 posts
    edited 1 February 2019 at 3:39PM
    pillar11 wrote: »
    Fortnite ban system is automated and a really good one. It doesn't ban someone if they are playing clean.
    ERM Fortnite anti-cheat isn't faultless, its already been widely reported, it hit on a few false positives that had to be rectified with apologies.

    OP on all platforms the game has software to detect certain pieces of software and coding alterations that are associated with software to enable unfair advantages over other players in the game, the anti cheat knows when it is being "switched off" to circumvent any detection, It also monitors internet Bandwidth of the game and controllers inputs, so if you use a piece of hardware to disrupt a internet signal to the games server in order to excessively "lag" meaning you cant be hit with bullets but can kill and shoot others known as "lag switches", or a controller that allows rapid fire 1 shot kills and endless firing without reload it will ban you, Exploiting glitches is harder to detect, as the anti cheat doesn't see any wrong doing, getting banned for glitching mostly requires other players watching you do it, and reporting you via the ingame game function and possibly a video recorded of your son exploiting the glitch and sending it to Epic Games Via Twitter or their forums with you sons gamer tag, some anti cheats also record a clip of live games server side for review when the anti cheat is activated or ingame report button is pressed, it also stores what your machine has installed, IP addresses and just about everything else the software is designed to send to base, These types of software are also known a "delayed banning systems" in which you could have been cheating on the system 2-4 weeks ago and only now Epic is issuing the ban, its designed this way to disrupt cheat developers from knowing what versions of cheats are being detected.

    Being on the PC and getting banned isnt a big issue, call your service provider and request a new IP address tell you've been DDOS'ed, uninstall the game, run CCleaner, make a new Email address up, and then install the game again, sign up under new credentials, and this time tell him to stop cheating or glitching with mates. If on Xbox or PlayStation, all you need is a USB stick to cheat, Sony and Microsoft like to put your consoles in console jail!
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