Season 8 of immensely popular battle royale Fortnite has arrived today, adding a fiery new pirate theme. Season 8 is available now along with a new purchasable Battle Pass for…
Disney, Nestle, and Epic Games (makers of Fortnite) have temporarily suspended their ads on YouTube, following a recent video report by YouTuber Matt Watson.
In the 20-minute video, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times and sent to news outlets and other organizations, Watson details how easy it is to find a seemingly innocuous video with teens and children, whose comment sections are full of child predators who time stamp specific scenes, make suggestive comments, and even share child pornography with each other. Watson says: “YouTube’s recommended algorithm is facilitating pedophiles’ ability to connect with each other, trade contact info, and link to actual child pornography in the comments.”
Because the videos themselves aren’t explicitly pornographic, YouTube’s algorithm hasn’t flagged them. Yet predators continue to flourish. Worse still, YouTube’s recommended videos algorithm suggests similar child-starring videos, making it easier for these activities and communities to thrive.
Many of these videos are monetized, including pre-roll ads for things like Fortnite. In response, several companies, including Epic Games, have paused their ad funding, hoping to send a clear message to YouTube.
“We have paused all pre-roll advertising,” said a spokesperson from Epic. “Through our advertising agency, we have reached out to Google/YouTube to determine actions they’ll take to eliminate this type of content from their service.”
The Verge reported on Epic Games pulling their advertising, and received a statement from YouTube: “Any content — including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments. There’s more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly.”
Perhaps due to Apex Legends’ huge popularity, genre juggernaut Fortnite is hosting back-to-back double XP weekends, and the chance to earn a free battle pass for season eight. The Valenine’s Surprise event closes out the Share the Love event of February, and season seven overall, which ends Feb. 28
The big surprise is that anyone who completes 13 overtime challenges by Feb. 27 will receive season eight’s battle pass for free. The seasonal battle passes normally cost about $10 in V-Bucks.
You can earn season seven skins by completing five, 10, and 15 challenges. Unlocking five challenges will also reward the Valentine Wrap and Vines Contrail rewards. The first three overtime challenges are:
- Collection 15 Coins in Featured Creative Islands
- Search loot boxes at a motel or RV park (7 times)
- Place Top 15 in Duos with a friend (3 times)
More overtime challenges will become available on Saturday, Tuesday, and next Friday. As further incentive, Epic Games is hosting two double XP weekends. Earn twice the XP when playing between Feb. 15-17 and again during the weekend of Feb. 22-24.
Fortnite is in the midst of the Share the Love event for February. Players can still earn a Culled Hearts Wrap skin by supporting a creator through the Support-A-Creator program, until Feb 22. It’s essentially an affiliate program. When earning or purchasing V-Bucks, your chosen creator will receive a share. To support a creator, enter their Epic game tag in the creator section of the item shop.
Fortnite is available for free on PC (Epic Games store), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and mobile devices. It’s rated T for Teen.
Gamevice announced that its series of mobile controllers now officially support Fortnite, thanks to the latest 7.3 update.
“Fortnite’s initial release on iOS was a watershed moment in the history of mobile gaming. It doesn’t get any bigger than this, for mobile gaming, and for the world of mobile gaming controllers,” states the official blog post.
As Gamevice mentions in their blog post, the mobile version of Fortnite is the exact same version as PC and console. The only difference – mobile gamers had to use the touchscreen, putting them at a distinct disadvantage.
For Android users the Gamevice controller, which physically attaches to your phone or tablet, functions the exact same as a console controller, with the same key bindings.
For iOS controls, however, Apple lacks support for the L3 and R3 functions – pressing in the analog sticks. Gamevice got around this with two methods. For Fortnite, L3 is how you sprint. But Fortnite defaults to automatically sprint whenever it detects a controller. R3 lets you crouch and repair structures, which has been moved to one of the d-pad buttons. The Gamevice controller also lets you remap the buttons however you want.
Epic Games worked directly with Gamevice to improve matchmaking. Fortnite players using a controller on mobile have a big advantage versus those still on a touchscreen. Thus the game will try and matchmaker controller users together when auto-matchmaking.
Gamevice controllers support over 1,000 different mobile games, and Fortnite is a critical grab. These specialized controllers don’t come cheap however, ranging from $79-99 for smartphones and tablet-size.
Although many big publishers and game companies have their own digital stores, like EA’s Origin and CD Projekt’s GOG, none have managed to get anywhere close to Steam’s stranglehold on digital PC gaming. Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, hope to change that with the newly launched Epic Games Store. The Epic Games Store is currently in soft-launch mode with a handful of PC games. It’s aiming for a larger launch, and include Android games, in 2019.
Epic Games is set to be far more attractive to developers and publishers with a more lucrative revenue sharing percentage. Epic Games will take only 12% of sales on its store, leaving 88% for the developers and publishers. For developers that use the popular Unreal Engine in their games, Epic will cover the 5% royalty fee as well.
For comparison, Valve takes 30% of game sales through Steam.
“As developers ourselves, we wanted two things: a store with fair economics, and a direct relationship with players. And we’ve heard that many of you want this too! We’ve built this store and its economic model so that Epic’s interests are aligned with your interests,” writes Tim Sweeney, founder, Epic Games, in a blog post. “Because of the high volume of Fortnite transactions, we can process store payments, serve bandwidth, and support customers very efficiently. From Epic’s 12% store fee, we’ll have a profitable business we’ll grow and reinvest in for years to come!”
Developers will have full control over their game store pages. Consumers won’t find ads or links to other games. Purchasing a game will subscribe that player to the official news feed, where developers can provide a steady stream of news and updates.
Epic Games is also embracing Youtubers and Twitch streamers via the Epic Games Suport-A-Creator program, allowing influencers to receive a share of revenue by driving traffic to the store page. Epic will cover the first 5% of creator-based revenue for the first 24 months.
Only a few games are currently available on the Epic Games Store, including Darksiders 3, Ashen, and Supergiant Games’ newly announced Hades.
The Epic Games Store will offer free games every two weeks to help encourage newcomers. The first is underwater survival-crafting game Subnautica, which is available for free from Dec. 14-27. Starting Dec. 28 you’ll be able to snag Super Meat Boy for free through January 10, 2019.