Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Opinion: Capitalism is ruining our Fortnite seasons

Opinion%3A+Capitalism+is+ruining+our+Fortnite+seasons
Adeline Tse

On Dec. 2, 2023 the Big Bang event occurred in Fortnite. Players all over the world jumped for joy as Epic Games unveiled plans for the next chapter of Fortnite. Not only would the typical map and gameplay changes be coming, but three whole new games were to be added: LEGO Fortnite (a Minecraft-style virtual sandbox), Rocket Racing (a Mario Kart-like racing game) and Fortnite Festival (essentially Guitar Hero).

As an avid Fortnite fan I was incredibly excited to check out these new modes when they were released. For each of them, I had fun for maybe a few hours before they revealed themselves to be empty, half-baked experiences. One might wonder why Epic Games would release these games in such a state. Very soon, the answer became crystal clear.

Now, before I continue, I need to set up some things for the non-Fortnite fans in the audience. For starters, Fortnite has an in-game currency named V-Bucks that can be purchased for cold hard cash (USD). These V-Bucks can be used in the Fortnite item shop to purchase a variety of virtual goodies.

While seemingly free at first, all of these new game modes now have many items that can be purchased for obscene amounts of money. These includes jam tracks (songs to be played along with in Fortnite Festival), cars and a variety of add-ons (for use in Rocket Racing) and virtual LEGO buildings to place in your LEGO Fortnite world.

While not perfect, for the sake of this article I’m going with the estimate that one V-Buck is roughly equivalent to $0.01 USD. There are currently 70+ jam tracks available to purchase for Fortnite Festival. At 500 V-Bucks a jam track, some simple math shows us that it would cost $375 to purchase all of the jam tracks to play in Fortnite Festival, and they continue to add more and more exciting songs every week.

A Fortnite car costs anywhere from $15-20 and the add-ons anywhere from $2.50-$6 a piece. Virtual LEGO builds can set you back up to $25. Just like that, all of these games are simply another scheme to feed Epic Games greed. These games are being slowly (and may I add, very slowly) updated to have new content while they spit out in-game cosmetics that change nothing gameplay-wise constantly. Rocket Racing is yet to have a substantial update and yet you can toss over $50 for some new virtual cars.

That’s to say nothing of the pure laziness Epic Games have begun to employ to squeeze more money out of loyal players’ wallets. To get to the newsworthy aspect of this opinion, a few days ago Epic Games removed the rarities of items, which was mainly something to distinguish what ‘level’ a skin was. The higher the rarity, the more it tended to cost. Without these rarities, Epic Games has already begun to overcharge for new skins that would’ve been much cheaper had they come out even a few weeks ago.

For example, the new “Avatar: The Last Airbender” skins dropped in Fortnite on April 9. Content-wise, these skins are very similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles skins that released a few months back. The skins in both sets came bundled with a pickaxe and backbling, but while the TMNT skins cost a reasonable 1800 V-Bucks, the Avatar skins cost 2200 V-Bucks. After removing the distinguishing rarities from Fortnite items, the sets with near-identical content now cost 400 more V-Bucks.

With all these increased prices, surely Epic Games has been improving the quality of the item shops. Instead, accusations have been made about Epic Games using AI to at least partially create their shops, and these accusations don’t seem far off. Many items come into the shop time and time again, and there’s even been instances of the same skin appearing in one shop multiple times, which never happened when humans were working on shops.

Fortnite is a game I’ve held near and dear to my heart for many years, and it’s sad to see its slow downfall into pure greed. Epic Games, please listen to your fans and fix the issues we’ve been complaining about for years (like locker UI becoming worse with every update) instead of adding more items to squeeze every cent out of our wallets.

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About the Contributors
Mack Gowan
Mack Gowan, Opinions Editor
Mack Gowan is the opinions editor for Central Times. Mack is a senior and this is his third year on staff. He loves putting information all over his stories. In his free time, he enjoys solving puzzles, cooking and listening to Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins as well as Bladee. Mack wants to be a filmmaker when he grows up.
Adeline Tse
Adeline Tse, Staff Artist
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