Fornite is one of the most-played games ever, with more than 500 million registered users. In a little over two years it has grown from a niche video game to a cultural phenomenon that’s been embraced by celebrities, athletes and even Monopoly. The game, which is available on almost every gaming console, computer and smartphone, features an endless array of characters, maps and weapons. Players can also purchase in-game items called “skins,” which change the look of their character. But parents have been growing increasingly concerned about the addictive effects of fortnite and how it’s ensnaring kids.
The video game’s popularity has been driven by its competitive multiplayer mode, which pits 99 online players against each other in a Hunger Games-style battle to the death. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed game that demands quick thinking and strategic planning. Players can choose to play solo or in a group of up to three people. Players are dropped onto the map from a bus and must scavenge for weapons, ammunition and items to stay alive. The safe area of the map shrinks down over time and players can be killed by other players, environmental hazards or zombie-like husks.
Despite the game’s rudimentary graphics, it has become an international phenomenon that’s earned its developer Epic Games $20 billion. The company made the bulk of that money from in-game purchases, or loot boxes, which are digital treasure chests that dispense virtual prizes for real money. These lucrative in-game sales have transformed the way gaming companies make money. Instead of selling individual titles, many of them now offer subscriptions or rely on in-game purchases to generate revenue.
Fortnite is a third-person shooter game with multiple modes, including Save the World, Battle Royale and Creative. The game is a free-to-play title that includes microtransactions, which allow players to buy hero and weapon skins with virtual currency. But a growing number of parents are worried about the way the in-game system is designed to encourage children to spend more than they intended, often without their parent’s knowledge.
Some of fortnite’s most popular modes, like the Battle Royale game, have been criticized for encouraging addiction and competition-related rage. But it’s also a great tool for learning social skills, like teamwork and strategy. In 2022, Epic launched Cabined Accounts, a new type of account that offers a customized experience for younger gamers.
But no matter which mode they’re playing, children can encounter players who don’t set the best examples of sportsmanship. That’s why it’s important for parents to discuss online safety with their kids, and explain what to do if they encounter unsavory behaviour while playing. Parents can also set parental controls for their children’s Fortnite accounts and block or mute other players if necessary.