There have been horror stories about Fortnite all over the news in recent weeks.
Sensational titles such as ’Fornite Cited in Over 200 Divorce Cases’ or ‘9 year old in Rehab for Fortnite Addiction’ populate headlines. The game is played by millions of people globally and winning a vast number of awards, yet parents keep asking themselves whether their children should be allowed to play Fortnite given the negative press around the game.
If this is a question you have asked yourself, QTIME’s intention is to help you find an unbiased way to evaluate this gaming phenomena and create a healthy environment and time limits for game play in your home.
Let’s start with the basics: What is Fortnite?
Firstly, there are two Fortnite games, Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite: Battle Royale. Fortnite: Battle Royale is what we will focus on in this article and is mainly what you hear about when people talk about Fortnite.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is a 3rd-person shooter game that takes place on an island with 100 people battling to be the last person or team standing. You can play in a group or as an individual. At the start of the game, the player is parachuted onto the island and they have to explore the island to find equipment to battle other players. Like Minecraft, the resources on the island can be destroyed and reused for battle, making it not just another ‘point and shoot’ game.
As the game continues, the safe zones on the island get smaller and smaller, forcing players continually into battle and ensuring games never go on needlessly. Game time limits are usually about 20 minutes and once you are killed, you can join another game that is starting. The game has a 12 week ‘season’ and after 12 weeks, they iterate on the game; changing the general composition of game play and aesthetic.
This is a free to play game, although there are varying ‘battle passes’ that can be bought to give a person more experience and play at different levels. It is found on most gaming consoles and there is an app for iOS and Android phones and tablets. What makes this game unique compared to many of its competitors is that it can be played cross-platform meaning that kids who have a PS4 can play with kids who have an Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and more.
Given this simple overview, you may be asking yourself why do children and adults alike love this game because it sounds similar to many others games like Halo or Battlefield?
Let’s talk about Fortnite’s reception in the gaming world.
Fortnite became an instant hit when Battle Royale came out. It immediately started attracting a huge following getting 125 million users in less than a year and earning about $1 billion USD. It also garnered several video game awards and has been critically lauded. Many celebrities have also admitted to playing the game, including the rapper Drake who made an appearance online playing with other gamers and celebrities.
Most critics and gamers alike feel like this is the next gaming evolution. It’s free to play, cross-platform, and games are engrossing and progress quickly. The cartoon-like animation makes it more friendly than some of the more realistic video games, like Battlefield, and there is a lack of blood which makes it seem less violent (although it is a shooting game and thus intrinsically violent).
Fortnite’s universe changes every 12 weeks, so there are time limits for playing each iteration of the game. This is very fast turnaround for a videogame and ensures that game play remains unique and never gets dull. It has also generated a lot of praise because of cross-platform usage. Many games do not support cross-platform use and consoles, namely Playstation, refused to let their members play with other platforms for proprietary reasons. However, since Fortnite’s success, Playstation has started to allow this with certain titles, including Fortnite. This is another way that Fortnite is changing the way we play games.
Why did we just tell you that Fortnite is really cool?
It’s important to understand why kids are attracted to this game. There will be inevitable battles about why they can’t play longer when you start to enforce rules or time limits on your Xbox and PS4. The more information you have about why kids are crazy about this game and what makes it special, the easier it will be to talk to your children and set boundaries.
Fortnite is the type of game to draw a player into the universe, make it as easy as possible to play, and even harder to leave. This sort of gaming experience is not going away and more game developers will use this framework to create equally addicting games. Knowledge is one of your best tools for ensuring that you can talk to your kids about creating healthy gaming habits and screen time limits.
What can you do to create good gaming habits?
Setting household rules around gaming time limits is key to ensuring that your kids get the most out of their day. Fortnite is on most gaming consoles and on phone and tablets, so it can be tricky to track your child’s game play. If you decide that it is OK for your kids to play Fortnite, here are some tips to ensuring they have healthy gaming habits:
According to global health organizations, a healthy amount of screen time for game play is less than 2 hours a day.
Gaming during school hours is never allowed.
You can set Parental Controls on their phone or tablet to ensure that you know how much screen time they are using and limit gaming on their apps.
Never allow games or screen time during meal times or family meetings.
For gaming consoles, like PS4 and Xbox, set daily household time limits.
If all else fails and your kids can’t stop playing, invest in a product like QTIME, that will help you set and easily maintain gaming time limits at home.