Epic Games has committed to addressing the issues with Fortnite’s new age ratings system after players expressed frustration over popular cosmetics becoming unusable in certain parts of the game. Last month, it was announced that Epic would be implementing individual age ratings for all playable content in Fortnite, including first- and third-party content. This move is part of Epic’s strategy to transform Fortnite into a “multi-game ecosystem” and expand its reach by emphasizing user-generated experiences created with its Creative 2.0 tools. With the latest update, all of these experiences are now accompanied by age ratings, ranging from E for Everyone to Teen.
While the introduction of age ratings seems like a logical step, the implementation has caused confusion and frustration among players. Previously rated Teen, every bit of content, including cosmetics, has now been assigned its own age rating. This has resulted in players being unable to access certain game experiences if they are wearing anything flagged as age-inappropriate. Additionally, some seemingly harmless cosmetic skins have been deemed unsuitable for children, while others, such as Michael Myers from Halloween, are considered appropriate for younger players.
The Fortnite subreddit has already identified inconsistencies in the rules, with players frustrated at being unable to use expensive skins they have purchased in different parts of the game. Furthermore, music and loading screens are being blocked, even though other players never see them. As frustrations continued to grow, many players voiced concerns over the game’s shift towards user-generated experiences, likening it to “Robloxification” at the expense of its traditional battle royale focus.
Epic has attempted to downplay the impact of the update, stating that only about 7% of Fortnite Outfits can currently only be equipped in islands rated Teen. The company has committed to enabling most of these Outfits to be compatible with all ratings over the next year, allowing them to adjust their appearance based on the selected island. However, players have expressed that it might have been better for Epic to implement the auto-adjust feature before introducing the age ratings. It is apparent that Epic was eager to implement the ratings update due to the critical role of its Creative mode in the future of the game. In September, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney acknowledged that Fortnite’s return to growth was primarily driven by its creator content.