Will kill Minecraft Fortnite
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Note: The Fortnite app is currently not available in the Apple and Google app stores. The background to this is a violation of the guidelines that provide for the store operators to be involved in purchases within the game (as of August 27, 2020).
What is fortnite
Fortnite is a computer and smartphone game in which players fight for survival. The game was launched in 2017 by the US manufacturer Epic Games.
Fortnite is designed as a survival shooter: opponents have to be eliminated alone or in a team, whoever is still alive at the end wins. In Fortnite's creative mode, players can also implement their own ideas and develop maps and buildings themselves. With this concept, Fortnite is currently one of the most popular games in the world.
The free, mobile app for the game version "Fortnite Battle Royale" has been available for Android and iOS since 2018. The apps contain advertisements for other Epic Games products. The manufacturer also earns money through optional in-app purchases (more on this below).
iPhone and iPad users can get the game in the app store, the Android version is available in the Google Play store or directly from the manufacturer's website. However, only particularly powerful Android devices are compatible with the game.
Who is playing Fortnite?
The comic-like world, provided with funny details, changes again and again and appeals to children and adults alike. According to Epic Games, there are 250 million registered Fortnite users worldwide (as of October 2019). According to managing director Tim Sweeny, 30 percent of Fortnite is played by women and girls, which is a lot for a violent game.
Fortnite is the most popular game for around a third of young gamers in Germany, well ahead of the second and third-place titles FIFA and Minecraft - and especially popular with children under the age of 14. This was the result of a telephone survey of 1,000 young people published by the German Center for Addiction Issues in Children and Adolescents in March 2019.
A mobile security request from the manufacturer regarding the number of app users has so far remained unanswered. The game has already been rated 238,000 times in Apple's app store alone.
Is there an age restriction?
Although the focus of Fortnite is killing the opponent, media educators praise the restrained depiction of violence: characters do not die in a detailed and bloody manner like in other games, but simply fall apart. Due to its less military look, parents can get the impression that Fortnite is a comparatively harmless fighting game.
The entertainment software self-control (USK) has released Fortnite in all versions from 12 years. The NRW gaming guide gives a stricter recommendation from an educational point of view: Since Fortnite Battle Royale hardly offers any alternatives to violence apart from building, it could be too exciting for some children under 14 years of age. It is not necessary to enter your age to register the user account within the app.
Fortnite as a social network
According to the industry media, the creative mode contributes to the great importance of the game in the lives of young people: Here, players can work together or alone and without any time pressure on their own playing cards, buildings or competition formats.
In its communication, Epic Games strongly emphasizes the role of Fortnite as a social meeting point and recently expanded the corresponding functions in the app - such as the voice chat or a new group center where players who are friends can meet up to fight together.
Disadvantage: The team mode ensures a higher level of loyalty in games like Fortnite, as your own role in the game could promote the social status in a group of friends and a high sense of obligation can be associated with it.
Parental controls for Fortnite
Fortnite recommends securing your own account with two-factor authentication. It is also an effective way for parents to control child play times. Parents can add their own email address as a second factor for logging in. Then each time the child registers, a confirmation code must also be entered, which the parents receive by email.
Parents who only want to allow the creative mode but not the violent battle royale mode must supervise their children. The individual modes cannot be locked, so that young players can quickly switch to Battle Royale.
The danger of so-called cyber grooming, in which adults speak to children in the chat and possibly sexually harass them, also exists with the Fortnite app due to the chat function and the team modes. Epic Games therefore offers its own parental controls that you can edit for your account.
This includes, for example, switching off the voice or text chat or hiding the child's name from opponents and automatically rejecting contact requests. However, these restrictions also affect the exchange with friends.
Data protection and security
In order to play, you need to create an Epic Games account with an email address and password. Alternatively, you can log in via Facebook or Google, but we do not recommend this in principle.
Epic Games shares this data with its subsidiaries and, if necessary, with third parties. The contact person for data protection issues is the European branch of Epic Games International S.à r.l. in Switzerland.
Epic Games formulates community rules for behavior in the game. For example, it is forbidden to imitate other players or to humiliate one's opponents. Participants who violate these rules can be reported.
The manufacturer states that in the event of serious violations, the respective player account will be blocked. It is also possible to block other players so that they can no longer contact you.
With the user agreement concluded at the beginning, you as a player also transfer the rights to all content to Epic Games - from chat entries to creative in-game constructions. The same goes for feedback on the game that you send to Epic Games.
In-app purchases from Fortnite
Fortnite itself is free, but Epic Games is making millions with in-app purchases. At a global Fortnite tournament in New York in the summer of 2019, teenagers played for a total of $ 30 million.
The survey by the German Center for Addiction Issues in Children and Adolescents (DZSK) showed that particularly passionate gamers spent an average of 110 euros and in extreme cases up to 1,000 euros on game add-ons and the like over the course of six months.
In our test, we were able to determine that Epic Games is constantly offering new items, movement sequences or so-called skins that change the appearance of the characters for sale. It should be positively emphasized that these do not decide on the course of the game at Fortnite. Spending money is therefore not mandatory.
Rainer Thomasius, medical director at the DZSK, considers a connection between spending in the game and possible gambling addiction to be probable: “The investment made in the game is a significant factor that makes it difficult for the player to give up on his 'work' and get away from it Distance game. "
In August 2020, Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their app stores because the manufacturer no longer automatically paid commission due to a new payment function. According to store guidelines, app providers must pass on 30 percent of all income to Apple or Google.
Is Fortnite addicting?
Computer game addiction is a non-material behavioral disorder and has been listed as a separate diagnosis in the “International Classification of Diseases” (ICD-11) of the World Health Organization since summer 2019. According to our current status, there are still no scientific studies on the addictive potential of Fortnite in particular.
The law firm Calex Légal, based in Montreal, Canada, is currently preparing a class action lawsuit against Epic Games: The game manufacturer failed to warn children and parents about the risk of addiction to Fortnite. A court decision is still pending.
According to a study by the health insurance company DAK, Fortnite has elements that, according to addiction experts, make a strong and possibly harmful bond to a game more likely.
As with all smartphone functions that are appealing to children and teenagers, we recommend parents to accompany their children when using them. Explore Fortnite together and set rules with your child. This essay by media and social researcher danah boyd gives good tips to get you started.
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