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Players of Fortnite observed last week that certain cosmetics in their lockers bore a new icon – a triangle containing an exclamation point and a yellow outline – in addition to a warning that read, “Items bearing the icon may only be utilized in experiences rated 12+.”
The sudden change, which rendered costumes previously utilized on numerous creative islands unplayable on said islands due to the classification restriction, infuriated players.
In response to the player uproar, Epic Games has disclosed that approximately 7% of Fortnite costumes, or Outfits as they are officially referred to, are exclusive to Teen-rated islands.
It was immediately apparent to players that certain costumes they cherished were inaccessible on Teen-rated creative islands. Skins depicting particular types of weapons, such as blades or pistols, are generally considered to be the ones that are prohibited on islands with a lower age classification.
However, peculiarly, that particular criterion appears to be quite stringent. For instance, fictional serial murderer and horror icon Michael Myers is permitted on any creative island. Although devoid of any blades or pistols, the Michael Myers skin serves but is a literal murderer from the franchise of Halloween films.
It’s a strange move to make, and community members are dissatisfied; not only are many of these skins that people have paid for (often between $10 and $20) no longer usable on certain creative islands, but can no longer be utilized as intended.
What Does Epic Say?
Epic issued a statement via the official Fortnite Twitter account over the weekend, claiming the modifications were executed improperly and how they are developing several new options that we expect to have operational by… some significant in-game event.
The aforementioned in-game event that this account is alluding to is most likely the culminating event of Chapter 4, which will conclude the chapter and initiate a period of downtime for Fortnite before the debut of Chapter 5. It is anticipated that this new chapter will introduce a fresh map.
Welp, our plan for cosmetics with the ratings update didn’t hit the mark.
We’re working on a few new options that we hope to have in place for say… some sort of big in-game event. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted <3
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) November 19, 2023
Where’s My Refund?
Players’ discontent is completely understandable, as this appears to be an attempt to advance Tim Sweeney’s kid-friendly metaverse within a game marketed as T-rated for teens. Therefore, Epic should consider providing refunds for the age-restricted costumes.
Although new skins are labeled with an age restriction notice, this did not apply to the 7% of skins and a range of restricted cosmetics despite being sold without the age restriction label. As a result, players who purchased items for dozens or even hundreds of dollars with the expectation that they could use them indefinitely throughout Fortnite are now unable to utilize them in a substantial number of activities.
It is puzzling as to why Epic even considered this course of action, given its propensity to cause more damage than good. They are currently earning significantly less from the Fortnite store than they did during the game’s peak. It follows that either A) they will increase the production of child-friendly skins in order to reduce that 7% figure, or B) age-restricted skins will experience a decline in sales, as players will recognize that they will be altered across modes or banned entirely.
Nonetheless, a supplementary V-Bucks refund should be offered for these newly restricted cosmetics at this time, as that was never the intention when sold. That would undoubtedly result in additional detriment for Epic; however, a class action lawsuit is not implausible in this situation, albeit theoretical.
Recent evidence indicates that Epic is not particularly receptive to feedback; therefore, it is improbable that this policy will be reversed. However, the refund concept must be seriously considered, as it has significantly eroded community trust.