Many parents have probably already heard the game Fortnite be mentioned by their own kids or by others, just like Among Us and Roblox. Fortnite was created in 2011 and has since seen its number of players increase more and more.
In August of this year, the game’s producer, Epic Games, stated that it had reached 500 million user accounts – while, last year, the number was 350 million.
Fortnite is a multiplayer online game (i.e. it allows several players to play one match at the same time) of the battle royale genre, that is, it gathers a big group of players who stay in one place searching for weapons, wood and building tools. Of this starting group, only one player or team survives and wins the match.
For this reason, whoever plays Fortnite gets very focused and tense during the match, since it’s not possible to pause. Aside from this Fortnite narrative, it’s possible to explore and discover map elements of the game, and, parallel to this, defeat enemies. In a simplified way, we can say that the last player wins – in other words, the one who survived all the battles and managed to escape other players.
The main goal within the game is to be the last one surviving, usually by winning combats against other players. In order to do that, users can play in solo mode, in pairs or in teams of four participants maximum.
Those who better explore the map, win resources, acquire items and/or establish their bases have an advantage in combat. Knowing the map is extremely important since this keeps players alert during moments of combat.
The game is free and can be played on a PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android. To download the game in the computer, you need to access Fortnite’s main page, select the option “play free now” and then select PC/Mac.
The next step is to create an Epic Games account, which is the platform that hosts the game, similar to a game store. Some data are requested, such as country, full name, user name, email address and password. The game also offers the possibility of creating an account with your Facebook or Gmail logins. After filling out this information, the user must choose a destination folder where the game will be saved in the computer.
Once the process of installation and user and password creation is complete, it’s time to start playing. In order to do that, you need to select the Battle Royale mode, which appears on the home screen.
After selecting the character and their skin, there are a few game mode options for the user to choose from: solo, duos and squads – i.e. the player can choose to play alone, with another player or in a team.
The game starts as soon as these steps are completed. The player starts the match on a hot air balloon or flying bus in the sky from where they’re airdropped, landing right on the game’s map.
We know games and apps have a few ways to monetize their creations, i.e. to “make money” from them, as explained in this article.
Fortnite is free to download and play – and it’s free of advertising. Then how does it make money? Through in-game purchases. Fortnite sells some items that you can use inside the game.
In the item shop inside Fortnite, it’s possible to buy Skins (character clothes), weapons and accessories to customize your character and even improve your performance in battles. The game’s currency is V-Bucks. As of when this article was written, you can buy 1,000 V-Bucks for $7.99; 2,800 V-Bucks for $19.99 and so on and so forth.
Besides the items already mentioned, loot boxes can also be bought in the store. Loot boxes are boxes with random items to customize your character. These items are sold separately in the shop, but users are attracted to loot boxes due to the possibility of finding rare items there. Loot boxes use the same mechanic used in casinos and they can be harmful to kids.
In the United States, purchases made inside Fortnite have become an issue for many kids, who are being bullied for having “default” characters – i.e. whoever plays with the character skin that they started the game with, without customizing them with items sold in the shop, is derogatorily called “default”.
This social pressure to customize characters generates a false need for consumption among kids, if only to protect themselves from being bullied in school or inside the game.
In other words, kids are not even safe and protected at home, where they’re attacked online through the Fortnite chat. This needless consumption encouraged by the game is one of the main causes of concern with respect to kids.
As we have mentioned, the player who’s the last one standing at the end of the match wins. Therefore, in addition to having to think about defense strategies, you need to shoot enemies so that they’re destroyed, which implies violent scenes.
Despite all the shootings and players “dying”, the game isn’t very realistic. The game graphic doesn’t show blood and then a player dies, what appears on the screen is the items such player was keeping and which are now available for the other player to collect.
In Brazil, the game matches were rated for people over 12 years old. In the United States, on the other hand, the recommended age is 13 years old, which is the same age that Epic Games, the company that created the game, suggested.
Similar to Among Us, Fortnite has a chat feature during the game, where it’s possible for players to talk during matches. In this case, however, it’s possible to silence the chat in the following manner:
The most important tip that encompasses not only Fortnite but many other games is to have constant, open dialogues with your kids. Communication builds trust in the little ones and it will make it easier for them to talk about any type of situation that happens in the game that seems unusual.
Written by Débora Nazário
Translated by Mariana Gruber
We can’t say that Fortnite is a violence-free game, because it’s not. There are weapons, shootings, and the game winner is the one who survives. Therefore, we reinforce that it is necessary for parents and kids to have conversations about the game.
Being interested in what your kids like and even playing with them is something that brings you closer and makes them comfortable enough to seek adult help if they feel the need.
It’s important to always be attentive when it comes to the chat feature in case it isn’t silenced, even if your kids aren’t showing any concerning signs. Asking what they talk about and agreeing with them that you’re going to check it once in a while are very important in order to protect them from ill-intentioned people.
Talking about what your kids think about that violence is also worth it, since the game tries masking this issue by giving it an air of fantasy. Many kids don’t even notice the violence and henceforth don’t treat it as such.
But violence isn’t the game’s most fragile issue. How it monetizes – in other words, how Fortnite makes money – is what parents should always be concerned about.
Therefore, our stance regarding Fortnite is that kids under 10 don’t play the game, since they don’t understand how the monetization works, i.e. that each item actually costs real money. They’re not prepared yet for this type of game model.
For older kids, talking about this issue and establishing limits are paramount. Agreements like these will change according to each family’s reality, but it’s important that they understand clearly that each item bought is worth money.
It’s also important to talk about how this affects your kids’ social lives. We’ve seen many who are bullied in school for using the “default” character in the game. Keep an eye out for this, talk about this issue and be attentive to how your kids seem before and after playing Fortnite. Many kids become anxious and only play it because they “need” to be in the same environment that everyone else is.
In spite of all this, there’s no denying that Fortnite helps to develop certain skills.
Shooting games in general develop spatial vision, since the game’s point of view is usually first-person and you need to pay a lot of attention to all the elements around you in order to shoot and hide. Agility is also developed, as well as global and focal attention, since you need to focus on one target and search for a secure place at the same time.
There’s one more thing that even Fortnite itselfs awards: buildings. The user can collect wood, rocks, ropes and tools in the game to build fortresses – hiding places that assist you in the game – and the player profits from each building. Similar to Minecraft and Roblox, this “Sandbox” type of game that allows kids to build things is very beneficial to both their spatial vision and creativity. We’ve talked about spatial vision in games here.