Epic Games is introducing a new type of account for kids playing its online multiplayer games. The new accounts, called Cabined Accounts, have some restrictions until a parent or guardian gives their approval for certain features. They’ll start rolling out in Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys, Epic said in a blog post on Wednesday.
If someone tries to make an account and says they are under 13 years old (or below the age of digital consent for their country), that account will be a Cabined Account. Kids using a Cabined Account will be able to play Fortnite, Rocket League, or Fall Guys, but some key features will be disabled, including text and voice chat, buying items with money, and downloading titles from developers that aren’t Epic. You can see the full list of disabled features on Epic’s website.
To get access to those features, a player with a Cabined Account will have to get consent from a parent or guardian, who can also set up parental control features to tailor the experience for their child. Kids under 13 who already have accounts and whose parents / guardians have not already provided consent will be moved to Cabined Accounts. You can read more details on Epic’s page for parents on its website.
These new Cabined Accounts do have a clear benefit for Epic: the company is giving children a way to try its popular online games without direct parental consent, which could reduce the likelihood that a kid will just lie about their age to play a game. But in shielding kids from some online interactions or accidentally spending gobs of money on in-game cosmetics without parental approval, Epic is also tacitly encouraging kids and their parents to have an important conversation about gaming habits and their time online. It’s also easy to imagine these Cabined Accounts expanding to future projects like the kids-focused metaverse Epic is developing with Lego.
Other companies offering big social platforms have also taken measures to create safer accounts for kids. Instagram, for example, makes accounts for users under 16 private by default, and Roblox offers an age verification feature to verify the age of teenage players.