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When young people play games in their free time, carers and loved ones benefit from knowing more about the content of these games and their age ratings.

This is especially the case with Fortnite, a game that most kids and young people have experience playing. Learn more about what Fortnite’s age rating is, in addition to some of the game’s main themes and other games like Fortnite to be aware of.

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What is the Fortnite age rating?

The age recommendation for Fortnite in the USA is 13 and up. The ESRB rates the game as T for teens. However, a lot of younger people find themselves playing the game. This is thanks to the game’s accessibility, being completely free to download and play before making its money through cosmetic microtransactions.

Many video games have their age ratings set as a result of the themes and contents of the game. Review boards are especially careful with these ratings, as they understand that young people can be fairly impressionable. Some of the themes that lead to Fortnite having this age rating include:

Violence

There is plenty of research into violence in video games, and while some of it conflicts with itself, there is a consensus that placing age limits on violent games is a good idea. Fortnite falls into this category, with the entire game goal being to eliminate the other people in your server and be the last player standing. This is an undoubtedly violent theme that centers around shooting people to receive a reward, increasing the age rating for the game regardless of the bright and colorful art style.

Online play

Fortnite is an online game. This means that most game modes take place with interaction with other players, including communication with teammates through both voice and text chat. Games with communication, especially voice communication, as some of the main aspects of gameplay, receive higher age ratings. This is because game developers can’t monitor players’ conversations, which leads to some people using abusive or foul language. Parents can choose to limit their children’s access, as they may want to avoid such exposure to abusive language.

Microtransactions

Microtransactions are a fundamental part of the monetization model that the developers of Fortnite, specifically Epic Games, use. As the game itself is entirely free for users, the creators look to use cosmetic items to earn money from the game. In Fortnite’s case, this refers to selling ‘V-Bucks’, an in-game currency that people use to buy the skins that exist in the game. These skins can provide social status, making people’s characters look better so people think more of them. This can be a highly lucrative idea for a young person who spends more than they can afford and develops an addiction.

Should I allow my child to play Fortnite?

If you’re one of the many parents who have wondered, “Should I let my child play Fortnite?” there are strong arguments on both sides. Some of the main things to consider when deciding include the following:

Themes of teamwork

In addition to a mode where people play entirely on their own, there is a significant focus on teamwork in Fortnite. This comes from the four-player mode, in which twenty-five squads compete to be the last team. The mode involves constant communication with teammates, sharing resources, and working together to secure the result the team wants. Teamwork shows several significant benefits for young people, developing primary skills for later in life. Children play team sports for the same reason, so there is no reason to exclude video games without considering the benefits of teamwork.

Developing social skills

Playing games like Fortnite benefits a young person’s social skills outside the playing session. Think about your time as a child, when you’d talk about what happened in a major sports game the night before or when you played soccer with your friends on the sports field. The same happens now with children discussing their gaming from the night before. Performing to a high standard when gaming the night before gives young people something to talk about the next day, improving their conversational skills and building their social circle thanks to sharing activities with close friends.

Tracking playtime

Some gameplay patterns in games such as Fortnite are designed to be as addictive as possible. The game offers rewards for playing a certain amount or performing particular feats, with some unlocks including famous characters from other media pieces. Allowing your child to play the game is far more palatable if you know that you can track the amount they are playing. By balancing time playing the game with other responsibilities such as chores and schoolwork, you help them understand their household responsibilities while still providing them with the leisure time they feel they deserve.

Finding a way to play

There are over 200 million people in the active player base for Fortnite, thanks to the game’s huge popularity. This presents a struggle for parents, as the game is free and highly accessible to any account on a game console. Even if you try to ban your child from playing the game, they might look to find a way to play it anyway, whether downloading it on a second account or simply playing when they’re around at a friend’s house. Try to monitor the amount they play the game without an outright ban since this removes some of the allure that a ban can create around a game or piece of content.

Alternative games to Fortnite

A few alternative games to Fortnite offer a lot of fun gameplay while removing some of the risks of violence that the Epic Games title presents. These games include:

Rocket League

Rocket League is a game that is best described by the term soc-car. Originally by Psyonix before being bought out by Epic Games, Rocket League is a game that is effectively soccer, with each player controlling a customized car with a rocket on the back. With a skill curve supporting the development of fine motor skills, this game provides the competitive impetus you see in games such as Fortnite without having the themes of violence. This game has a lot of potential for incredible moments and forming memories, as your kids can play with their friends in a fun game with positive themes.

Minecraft

Minecraft might seem like a game that came out so long ago that nobody plays it anymore, but it is incredibly useful for various reasons. Many schools use Minecraft for educational purposes since it accurately looks at geological formations and structures. It still retains all the fun it had on release many years ago. Consider using mods or texture packs to liven the game up and add features such as scientific experiments to the Minecraft experience.

Super Smash Bros: Ultimate

Super Smash Bros: Ultimate is an excellent game if you don’t mind your child playing a game with a little bit of cartoon violence. With a complex movement system and various techniques available, there are hours and hours of gameplay to delve into when playing ‘Smash’. One of the game’s main attractions is the wide range of characters, with everything from Nintendo classics down to ‘Steve from Minecraft’ available as playable characters in this engrossing combat platformer.