5 things we've learnt about Fortnite
BBC Radio 5 live’s Anna Foster has been exploring the latest video game craze 'Fortnite'.
Launched as a video game last summer, it's in the couple of months its popularity has sky-rocketed: it’s now being played by hundreds of millions of people all over the world, and seems to be dominating classroom conversations in the UK.
Guardian journalist Keith Stuart describes it as 'Call of Duty with the plot of The Hunger Games' - a cartoon shooting game where the aim is to be the last character standing.
Everyone’s talking about it
5 live heard from three 13-year-olds: Jonas, Raphael and Mohammed.
“It’s a big deal" Raphael said. "Everyone’s started playing it and it’s been the only talk in school.”
But for Jonas, who doesn't have a console, that’s not quite the case: “Normally we talk about football, and everyone knows about football, but when we talk about Fortnite I can’t really join in the conversation.”
The Guardian's Keith Stuart said, “my children absolutely love it...it’s very rare that a conversation at our kitchen table doesn’t start with ‘in Fortnite...’"
The game is free, but 13-year-old Raphael said some people at his school are spending more than £200 on in-app purchases.
These are largely used, as Keith Stuart explained, to "make your character look different.”
John in Somerset has a 13-year-old son who ended up buying in-app purchases without him knowing. John has now thrown the console away.
Dean in Bolton texted with a similar experience: “After losing lots of money due to FIFA points previously, I’ve now ensured the only purchases my children can make online is via voucher codes. We’ve got a teenager who’d spend every penny on the current Fortnite craze.”
You can spend a long time on it...
...but how long is too long?
Some parents said they'd limited the time children can play it, something they do with other games too.
13-year-old Mohammed is a BIG fan - he plays for around 48 hours a week.
Angie texted 5 live: “I’ve got a ten-year-old. He likes playing with his friends online and talking to them, and winning – he says it’s not bloody. We do restrict their time.”
Other parents, like John, suggested setting the router to locked time periods - he said he's happy for his 12-year-old and 16-year old to play it within defined times.
Parents are talking about it
You can play the game on your own, or as part of a 'squad' or 'duo'.
Keith Stuart said this might cause some concern: "If you don’t have friends online, you might play with people you don’t know, and talk to people you don’t know."
There are parental controls that allow you to switch this function off.
A text from a parent in Suffolk highlighted another worry: “My 10 year old son is addicted and I don’t use that word lightly. When he’s told to come off he can fly into a rage with shouting, swearing and violence.”
But plenty of parents said their children really enjoy the game: Angie said her grandchildren like the bright colours and find the game really funny, and she likes watching them trying to out-wit other players.
The Floss could be the next dance craze
'The Floss' is a dance which a character does in the game. And it seems to be catching on…
Adrienn said that her son and his friend have been doing it on the rugby pitch, and another listener said her children were doing it at the cricket nets.
Fancy giving it a go? Mum Stacey described it on 5 live: “I just flail my arms about and think I’m hilarious and my son thinks I’m embarrassing”.