Starting January 30, v13.40 of Fortnite on iOS and Google Play will become unavailable to players under 18, Epic Games has announced. Although Fortnite was removed from the iOS, macOS and Google Play stores in August 2020, the game is still playable by users who already had it installed, but it's been stuck on the v13.40 update and been somewhat buggy. Players will also no longer be able to spend V-Bucks, the games in-app currency, beginning January 30.
"We want all versions of our games to use the current suite of Epic Online Services including parental controls, purchasing defaults, and parental verification features," the company said in a tweet. "We are not able to update the app on these platforms given Apple and Google’s restrictions on Fortnite."
In December, Epic Games introduced limited accounts that prevent kids from spending money in Fortnite’s in-game store and using voice chat without a parent’s consent. That same month, Epic Games agreed to pay $520 million in fines related to allegations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that Fortnite violated the Children's Online Privacy Act and also tricked people into making unintentional purchases.
Although Epic Games has addressed these concerns with new updates, Fortnite on iOS and Google Play devices can't receive updates. As a result, blocking access for anyone under 18 was the only option available to Epic Games. To address the FTC's claim that Fortnite tricked players into making unintentional purchases, the company is removing the ability to spend V-Bucks.
It's worth noting that most players likely won't be affected by the new restrictions rolling out in a few days, given that there are ways to access the popular game without having to go through the App Store or Google Play stores. For instance, if you want to access the game on iOS or macOS, you can do so through GeForce Now. You can also download the game natively to Android from Epic Games’ website.