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Fortnite Battle Royale: Everything Parents Need To Know

Written by Patricia E. Vance, President, ESRB
September 13, 2018

If you’re a parent of a school age child, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the latest craze in video games, “Fortnite.” From dedicated gaming devices to smartphones and tablets, Fortnite’s fun gameplay and accessibility have catapulted its popularity among gamers of all ages in recent months. But as a parent, you may be wondering:

“What do I need to know about Fortnite and similar “battle royale” games, and are they suitable for my children?”

WHAT’S IN THE GAME?

Fortnite Battle Royale is rated T for Teen by the ESRB for Violence. The game’s rating information also includes a notice about the existence of player-to-player interactions which may include inappropriate language.

Purchasing V-Bucks is not required to enjoy Fortnite or give any competitive advantage, and players are not penalized for sticking with the free option.

Fortnite can be enjoyed alone, but the real draw for most is the online multiplayer “Battle Royale” mode. In each match, 100 players are dropped into a map with the sole mission of being the last player standing. Gamers take out other players and defend themselves by gathering items, including guns and other weapons, and building structures on the fly, until only one player is left, earning them the coveted “Victory Royale.” The depictions of guns and violence are cartoon-like and there’s no blood or gore. As such, the game comes across as whimsical and even absurd at times. Most competitions last approximately 20 minutes, but it can be as little as a few seconds if you’re not careful. So, you might want to wait until the round is over before prying your child away from the game.

Being an online multiplayer game, most Fortnite players choose to communicate with each other. Chat (both text and audio) can help your kids strategize with their teammates, which can consist of friends or strangers. So be aware that your child may encounter players who may not set the greatest examples in terms of sportsmanship.

WHERE CAN YOU PLAY FORTNITE?

The game is available for download on pretty much every gaming platform you can think of. PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android are all supported. In some cases the game even allows players on one device to play with friends and other players using a different one. This is referred to as“cross-platform” playability, a feature that is pretty unusual in the world of gaming.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Anyone can access Fortnite for free. However, the game has its own in-game currency – called V-Bucks – which can be bought with real money (1000 V-Bucks costs around $10). Players can use V-Bucks to buy in-game items like clothing, equipment, or dance moves to customize their character. They can also buy a Battle Pass using 950 V-Bucks, adding an extra layer of unlockable gadgets and bonuses for each gameplay “season,” which typically lasts for about three months.

More than 125 million people across the world play Fortnite

For the record, purchasing V-Bucks is not required to enjoy Fortnite, nor does it provide any competitive advantage. Players are not penalized for sticking with the free option. On top of that, players can also earn V-Bucks by completing in-game tasks, making additional purchases entirely optional.

SETTING LIMITS

You can take numerous steps to manage how and with whom your child plays all video games. Regardless of the game, you can consult ParentalTools.org to review the parental controls available for your devices.

All platforms include parental controls, which you can activate to manage things like in-game purchases, the types of games your kids can play by age rating, with whom they can play online, amount of screen time, and more. Some devices even let you set spending allowances or allot time parameters for every day of the week. Some parents also decide not allow their kids to use a headset, and instead set the audio to play through the TV or monitor. Of course, you can also just turn off the chat entirely, but that may diminish the fun.

Mobile devices can be a little more complicated since your kids have access to them all the time. Fortunately, both iOS and Android devices offer effective tools like Apple’s Screen Time and Google’s Family Link that offer controls.

According to Fortnite developer, Epic Games, more than 125 million people across the world play Fortnite, and the player base continues to grow with every new season. You may wonder how a game can gain such broad popularity, but Fortnite’s strategic depth makes it compelling. Meanwhile, its exuberant schoolyard simplicity makes it easy to pick up and enjoy, regardless of a player’s skill.

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