Epic Games’ Fortnite: Battle Royale has received a religious talking to, with The Church of England accusing it of encouraging children to gamble.
Dr. Alan Smith, the bishop of St.Albans has said that Epic Games’ hugely popular free-to-play title is encouraging children to gamble based on chance.
“Behind some of these games is some dubious morality,” said Dr Smith, who talks on behalf of the church on these matters.
“Whilst they are within the letter of the law, they have moved the goalposts significantly in the direction of normalising and socialising gambling among young people.”
“All the signs are that we are going to have an epidemic because the games like Fortnite are socialising gambling through ‘skins’ and winning prizes.”
The ironic thing about this statement is that there is nothing randomised about Fortnite’s use of cosmetic in-game purchases. What you buy is what you get, whether it’s individual items or the seasonal Battle Pass.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Dr Smith said, “Parents should be very careful in letting their children play any of these games that appear to be designed to encourage gambling later in life.”
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There’s definitely a debate to be had regarding loot boxes in gaming and their influence on children, but The Church of England accusing Fortnite, which doesn’t have them, is a bad place to start.
The conflation of video games with genuinely damaging gambling addictions is also a dangerous line of debate to cross, particularly when children often need the consent of parents to make in-game purchases.
Do you think Fortnite is a danger to younger gamers when it comes to gambling? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews.