It’s the holiday gift-giving season, and that means that parents are out to find the hottest toys and video games for their kids. Unfortunately, that also means that some sellers will have an opportunity to prey on uninformed shoppers who may be stepping foot in a video game store for the first time ever to buy gifts for their loved ones.
The most popular game of the year, “Fortnite: Battle Royale,” is a free-to-play download, but that hasn’t stopped retailers from getting in on the rush. Every major video game seller, from GameStop to Walmart, has a variety of “Fortnite” bundles for parents to buy, at a variety of price points.
But don’t be fooled: “Fortnite” itself is a free download, and probably always will be. The sale of V-Bucks, an in-game currency, are how “Fortnite” makes its money, not charging for the game itself.
The bundles just add additional perks to the free game, including V-Bucks — the premium in-game currency — and special cosmetic items for players. In other words, when you buy a “Fortnite” bundle, you’re not paying for the game, you’re paying for these bonuses.
These bundles should be clearly labeled for what they are, though at least one Australian on Reddit noticed that his local games store had placed a sticker on the case that could confuse the matter by covering over the fact that it’s merely a code for some “Fortnite” extras. So, be careful out there.
That’s not to say that “Fortnite” bundles don’t have value. The included V-Bucks can help unlock paid content in the game, but buyers should be aware that the game is free to own and play without any monetary investment whatsoever. Though it can take a while, players can earn V-Bucks by playing the game over time, and unlock the items they like without paying.
Being free-to-play has helped “Fortnite” amass over 200 million players since it launched in July 2017, and creator Epic Games said that 80 million players are playing on a monthly basis. The game reportedly earned more than $300 million in revenue during May 2018, primarily through V-Bucks microtransactions.
The demand for the Fortnite currency has risen as more players get interested in the game, leading scammers to target young “Fortnite” players with ads for free V-Bucks. Epic Games forbids the sale of V-Bucks from unverified shops, and also bars players from selling their accounts to other players. A feature for trading premium items with friends is currently undergoing testing with select players, but has not yet been formally rolled out to the game at large. Ultimately, this means that you shouldn’t trust anyone trying to sell V-Bucks or in-game items.
At the risk of confusing the matter further, it’s worth noting that there is a separate, paid game mode for “Fortnite,” called “Save the World,” that actually predates the ubiquitous “Battle Royale” mode. If you want to play “Save the World,” it costs $30, and doesn’t come in any of the existing “Fortnite” bundles you find in stores. It’s also worth noting that “Save the World” is far less popular than “Battle Royale.”
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