Learn more about the internet-based gaming phenomenon that Katy kids are flipping over and how parents can keep it under control.
KATY MAGAZINE | September 2018
With the advent of endless battle scenarios, creative characters, and addicting accessories, one popular online game has built somewhat of a cult following and has parents wondering...what the heck is Fortnite? Katy Magazine decided to answer some reader questions and talk about the pros and cons of letting your kids play online.
WHAT IS FORTNITE?
Epic Games hit the gaming jackpot with the creation of Fortnite, an internet-based game in which players have to survive an "end-of-days" scenario, building shelters, battling for territory, and warding off monsters, all while avoiding the "Storm", a force field that shrinks the battleground in timed intervals, forcing the players closer and closer to each other in combat.
The game celebrated it's one-year birthday in July 2018, and has made short work of expanding their characters and playing options to meet the explosive demand of new users. Fortnite is an internet gaming phenomenon that is taking Katy parents somewhat by surprise.
WHY DO KIDS LOVE IT SO MUCH?
Katy kids seem to love the cartoonish and colorful animation, freedom to roam the virtual map, lighthearted dance moves, regularly updated costumes and accessories, and the ability to play live and communicate with their friends. The Battle Royale format is an elimination-style battle, where only one player or team remains at the end of the session.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
While it is completely free to create a player profile, and players can earn new badges and items as they progress through the game, there are aspects of the game that require payment. A "Premium Battle Pass" gives players exclusive access to special challenges and new gear that's not available otherwise. The game is split up into "seasons", and a new Battle Pass must be purchased for each new season (10-weeks), and is measured in V-Bucks, the game's virtual currency.
1 Battle Pass per season = 1,000 V-Bucks ($9.99 USD)
So to break it down, your child can earn V-Bucks with no cost to you, but will not have access to special challenges and new gear. If you buy a Battle Pass, it costs $10 every 10 weeks for a new season.
*CAUTION* Your child's online game profile saves your payment info - making it possible for children to purchase V-Bucks and new "skins" without express permission. Watch their activity and your bank account closely!
HOW DO I GET MY KID TO TURN THE GAME OFF? One major point of contention with some Katy parents is that it is so hard to get their kids to hop off the game for things like sports, dinner, homework, etc. This is because unlike traditional video games which allow you to press "Pause" and come back later, Fortnite matches last about 20 minutes and cannot be left or paused. So from your child's perspective, telling them to "turn it off" with 6 minutes left means leaving their progress, sacrificing a possible win, and stranding teammates, losing points and rewards they've earned in the game. With Fortnite, it's not quite as simple as saving your progress and coming back later, which can make it tough when it's time to stop. To the kids, it can feel the same as if you were to run a marathon, come within sight of the finish line, and have a race official force you to quit. Frustrating.
CAN I LIMIT PLAYING TIME?
Yes. Most parents don't know that if their child plays on PlayStation, XBox, or Nintendo Switch, you can use the parental controls to limit the amount of playing time your kids get by setting up an automatic "Kill Switch", so to speak. Again though, if you are going to allow them to play at all, think about adopting a "Play it out rule." If the timer goes off and there is still 3 minutes left in the match, consider letting them finish so that they can keep their points, and still follow house rules.