Epic Games is rolling out a new type of account for younger players that will require parental consent before they can do things like make purchases from Fortnite's in-game store with real money or use voice chat. Epic says these so-called "cabined accounts" will provide a "tailored experience that is safe and inclusive for younger players using the store or launcher."
In a blog post, Epic positioned cabined accounts as a "new way for kids to join the metaverse." It wrote that some companies try to provide a safe environment for kids in an online ecosystem by "by creating isolated experiences solely for their younger players, but these experiences are usually restrictive and unappealing when compared to the full game or activity and may encourage false reporting of age. Another approach has been to offer a fulsome experience for younger players, but if kids do not obtain permission from their parents, they are locked out entirely with no alternatives. Neither of these are optimal."
Starting today, players will see a one-time request for their age when they log into the Epic Games Store or the company's games. If someone indicates they are under 13 or a country's age of consent to use digital services, they will now have a cabined account. Although they'll still be able to play Fortnite, Rocket League or Fall Guys with access to previously purchased and earned in-game content, they'll need to provide a parent or guardian's email address and get consent from them to use certain features.
Several other features are disabled in cabined accounts, including any purchases with money, free text chat, making trades in Rocket League, buying or downloading Epic Games Store titles not owned by Epic, custom display names and SMS-based two-factor authentication. Without parental consent, younger players will not be able to link their Epic account to services such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitch. Developers with cabined accounts will also be prevented from accessing some Unreal Engine features.
Epic will lift the restrictions when a parent or guardian provides consent or the player turns 13 or their region's age of digital consent. In the meantime, those with such an account can still use any funds that are already in their Epic wallet to buy things in Fortnite, Rocket League, Fall Guys and other Epic-owned games.
After a parent or guardian has verified a cabined account, they can set up parental controls. Among other things, they'll be able to approve friend requests on the younger player's account, grant access to voice and text chat and track their offspring's Fortnite play time.