Fortnite: Battle Royale - a guide for parents

Fortnite: Battle Royale gameplay

If you have children over the age of about seven, there's little chance you'll have escaped the rise (and rise) of the popular video game, Fortnite or its free-to-play spin-off, Fortnite: Battle Royale. With adults and kids of all ages jumping on the virtual bandwagon, you might be wondering whether it's a good idea to let your kids loose on it. We asked games and eSports presenter Frankie Ward for her take on whether it's safe for children – here's everything you need to know.

What is Fortnite?

Fortnite is, in essence, a shoot 'em up based on a 'last one standing' premise. It exploded onto the scene in 2017 and quickly swept up gamers and non-gamers alike in its hype. Battle Royale, its free counterpart, sees 100 players dropped onto an island and forced to survive in the style of its cult film namesake. Because most of the action involves weapons, parents have found themselves questioning whether it's appropriate for their children to play – or at what age they should relent and click 'download' on the most talked about game in school.

It's not all guns and violence, though. There's a fair amount of resource-gathering and structural building players need to get to grips with in order to survive, as well as funny dance moves and wacky costumes to collect. The overall feel of the game is much more lighthearted than other first-person shooter games, which often feature more realistic gameplay (and, as a result, more realistic violence).

Is it safe for children to play?

Fortnite: Battle Royale age rating

It's possible to play without chat. Either mute chat or don't allow headphones. My son plays it and I've watched the game. IMO, Minecraft was more graphic

The Video Standards Council has given Fortnite a rating of PEGI 12, meaning they've deemed it unsuitable for kids under 12. This is due to frequent scenes of mild violence, though there's no blood or gore to shield their eyes from.

Something you might want to take into consideration, however, is the addictive nature of the game. Mumsnetters have noticed the frustration their children feel when they're knocked out – and how it can evolve into a temper tantrum…

Is Fortnite free?

While you do need to purchase the original and first version of the game (Fortnite: Save the World), its Battle Royale incarnation is free in PvP (player versus player) mode. There are other, fancier packages you can go for and these will set you back up to £49.99, but it's possible to download the bog standard version for your children for absolutely nowt.

Fortnite gameplay screenshot

Where can I play it?

You can find a Fortnite: Battle Royale download on the following devices and consoles:

  • PlayStation
  • XBox
  • Mac
  • PC
  • iOS devices (it's not available on Android devices yet, but is expected to be released in the coming months)

You can find it on Apple's App Store, the Epic Games website, the Microsoft store, or in PlayStation and XBox's online stores. Give it a try yourself and, you never know – you might end up fighting your kids for the controller…