ortnite: Battle Royale, from developers Epic Games, has become one of the most popular games in the world, with a total of 250 million registered players.
The free-to-play game, released in 2017, is essentially a massive online fight between 100 players, all of whom land on an island with nothing and fight for better equipment and weapons to become the last person standing.
With such a huge number of registered players, it’s quite likely that either you will know someone, either yourself, your friends or maybe your children who love to play the game.
Here’s what you need to know about Fortnite and how to judge whether it’s suitable for your child or not.
What should parents be aware of when letting their kids play Fortnite?
First of all, while the game looks colourful and pleasant with its cartoonish graphics, the aim of the game is to kill other players and be the last one standing.
You’ll use guns and grenades to do this, and while the combat aspects aren’t gory or violent, the aim of the game is to be violent.
More often than not, people will play this game using headphones or a headset so that they can hear any would-be enemies or talk to their teammates.
To this end, young players could be exposed to abusive or aggressive language from others while in the game. To avoid this, you can turn off voice chat entirely as well as toggle the options in this in-game menu shown below:
A popular suggestion is to play the game a bit with your child and see for yourself, and then make any necessary changes from there.
Childnet suggests that a great way to address the game is to have an open and honest conversation about the game and your child’s online life.
What is Fortnite’s age rating?
Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12, meaning that the game is suited towards anyone who is 12 years or older.
PEGI, or the Pan European Game Information, is an age rating system that was established to help European parents make informed decisions on buying computer games.
The decision to label the game suitable for those 12 and over is because it meets this criterion: “Video games that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy characters or non-realistic violence towards human-like characters would fall in this age category.
“Sexual innuendo or sexual posturing can be present, while any bad language in this category must be mild. Gambling as it is normally carried out in real life in casinos or gambling halls can also be present (e.g. card games that in real life would be played for money)”.
The PEGI rating only applies to the game itself, and specifically for an online multiplayer game, it fails to take into account the people playing and what might be said, such as graphic, abusive or otherwise comments from player to player.
Why has the Epic Games release come under fire in the past?
Fortnite’s biggest problem is its free-to-play model, utilised by a lot of mobile games.
While it means you don’t need to buy the game in any form to play all of it, it does mean that you’re actively encouraged to spend real money on in-game items which do little more than change your appearance or give you a boost to your level experience earned while you play.
While Fortnite does not feature paid blind loot boxes, it does offer cosmetics. These don’t give player any sort of gameplay advantage or power over others.
Typically, loot boxes have a per cent based chance to give you the reward you want, but that chance could be as low as one per cent, with many people spending hundreds of pounds until they finally get the cosmetic they wanted.
With that in mind however, offering paid cosmetics is still going to entice a lot of younger players to want to purchase them.
Further to this, many of the cosmetic packs that you can buy in-game start at £8 and go up to £119.99.
You don’t have to look far to see multiple examples of children and adults gambling away exorbitant amounts on loot boxes or cosmetic packs in a lot of free-to-play games.
The creators of Fortnite have put together this guide on how to maximise parental controls over how the game is played, which you can read here, offering tips on how to navigate parenting and gaming successfully.