In the world of video games where words like “phenomenon” are thrown around on regularly, there’s never been one quite so big and world-changing as Fortnite. A game that started as a modest but fun co-op shooting and building game which pitted players against hordes of zombie-like creatures after a cataclysmic world event. Usually, a game like this would have passed almost unnoticed if not for some quick thinking on the part of the developers, Epic Games.
While there are plenty of tutorials and how-to guides floating around the web these days, including walkthrough videos and even loot box unboxings for all that extra gear, however, there are very few guides on what is even required to get the game going in the first place. From which devices can play the game, to downloading the game and most importantly, does it cost me anything. Follow below to get set up for your Fornite fix, and find out what you need to play Fortnite.
What is Fortnite?
Inspired by a game called Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – PUBG for short – which parachuted 100 real online players into a zone with the task, inspired by movies like The Hunger Games, of being the last one left standing. PUBG was built with Epic’s Unreal game engine and having helped the developers get a 100-player battle running smoothly with it; Epic figured it might be time to get in on the battle royale action.
Fortnite is also a fight to the end between 100 online players but is far more polished than PUBG, designed with a cartoony style that broadens its appeal and incorporating crafting and building mechanics. And make no mistake, the appeal is very real – as of March 2019, the game had over a quarter of a billion players around the world and has made billions of dollars despite having no upfront cost to play. And with all that cash flying around, the game’s best players are getting rich; the solo winner of the recent Fortnite World Cup took home three million US dollars in prize money – that’s more than the winner of many premier sporting events gets. Make no mistake – Fortnite is massive.
What Devices Can Play Fortnite?
One thing that has given Epic Games a considerable advantage is the Unreal game engine. Used by the world’s biggest game companies for years, Unreal has been adapted to work on a wide range of devices, and that means Fortnite can run on just about everything with a screen (well, okay, maybe not your Kindle, but if it plays games, it can probably run Fortnite!)
You can download Fortnite Battle Royale completely free for:
What Are the Device Requirements to Play Fortnite?
While it might sound like an incredibly demanding task to bring 100 players together to battle in an online world, Fortnite runs surprisingly well on low-cost devices. But as with most games, there are basic requirements for each platform:
Windows 7, 8 and 10 or macOS Sierra and newer, 64-bit only
Core i3 2.4 GHz or above
Intel HD 4000 graphics
Android 8.0 or higher, 64-bit
3GB Ram or higher
GPU: Adreno 530 or higher, Mali-G71 MP20, Mali-G72 MP12 or higher (check your device manual)
iPhone SE, 6S, 6s+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+, X, XS, XS Max, XR
iPad Mini 4, Air 2, 2017 and Pro
iOS 12.0 or later
Game Consoles – Online Subscriptions
Fortnite is free to download and play on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch, but since an active internet connection is required to play, an active Xbox Live Gold (or Game Pass Ultimate) subscription is required to play Fortnite on Xbox One. However, on both PS4 and Switch, you don’t need an active subscription to Playstation Plus or Nintendo Switch to play.
How to Download Fortnite
Of course, you’ll need to download a copy of Fortnite before you can play – and how long that takes depends both on the device you’re using and the speed of your broadband connection.
On iOS and Android, Fortnite isn’t a huge game – a 150Mb download – but when you run the game it downloads the data it needs, up to 2GB of it. That’s big enough to put a serious dent in a mobile broadband allowance – so if your mobile data is limited, we’d recommend you wait till you’re on home wi-fi before downloading.
On PC and Mac, you’ll need to head over to the Epic Games site (or the Fortnite home page) and sign up for a free Epic Games account. You can then download the Epic Launcher which, in turn, lets you download Fortnite. And on desktop and laptop computers, that’s a hefty download – over 50GB. On top of that, there are regular updates to the game that is always quite large – at least 1GB, and often 5GB and above as new features and “seasons” are added to the game. Playing the game itself doesn’t use much data, but be prepared for a large initial download and regular updates, especially if you have a low monthly download limit. One nice little perk of the Epic Launcher, by the way, is that there’s a free game available to add to your collection every week (sometimes two!)
On the consoles, Fortnite comes in at a much more modest 15GB once it’s fully installed. Updates can still be relatively large, though, so keep that in mind (and turn your consoles auto-updating on if you don’t want the annoyance of going to play only to have to wait an hour for an update to download and install!)
How to Play Fortnite on a Phone
If you were wondering about the challenges of playing an action game like Fortnite on your mobile phone, there’s no need to worry – there’s some cleverness going on here. Basically, if you’re playing on your phone, you will only get matched by default with other people also playing on their phones (though if you want to group with friends playing on computers or consoles, you can). To keep a level playing field, anyone using a game controller with their phone or tablet will be put into a separate group of players, so nobody gets an unfair advantage.
You need a persistent internet connection to play – if your connection gets interrupted for any reason at all, you will likely get booted out of the game you’re playing. So if you’re playing on the go, keep that in mind, as mobile broadband connections are continually changing depending on where you are.
How much does Fortnite cost? Spending Money – The Fortnite Battlepass
Of course, Fortnite is making its money from somewhere – and that’s mainly from the sale of optional items that have no impact on how the game is played (keeping it fair for everyone – you don’t need to spend a cent to enjoy the game).
If you’re playing regularly, then the best-value way to get hold of each season’s most desirable cosmetic items is by buying the Battlepass. The great part about the way the game’s store is set up is that everything is purchased using a virtual currency known as “V-Bucks”. You buy an amount of V-Bucks with real world money, and then you can spend it on items on the in-game store, including the Battlepass as well as a rotating selection of other items – costumes, weapon skins, backpacks, sprays, and so on.
The Battlepass grants rewards to you as you play – the more you play, the faster you move up each “tier” of the season ranks, and each tier unlocks new stuff for everyone, with all the really cool stuff reserved for Battlepass holders. In addition, you also get V-Bucks as you rank up, meaning you’re well on your way to buying the next Battlepass for far less money (or even for free).
Should you buy it? Well, if you play a lot and love the game, it’s priced reasonably well at the equivalent of $10 USD for the base pass on PC and Mac (a bit under $15 AUD). It’s a bit pricier on the consoles because you have to buy a minimum of 2800 V-Bucks when the Battlepass only costs 950 – though there is an option to buy the Battlepass with the first 25 tiers unlocked, which cost 2800 V-Bucks! On console, that’s going to set you back $38 AUD, so it’s not for everyone.
The critical thing to remember is that you don’t need the Battlepass at all. It gives you no competitive advantage, just some fun stuff that doesn’t affect gameplay. And you still win stuff for playing even without the Battlepass – you can literally play completely free if you want.
Can You Play Fortnite on Multiple Devices?
Here’s one of the best things about Fortnite – it’s the exact same game regardless of which device you play it on, right down to the items you buy and the regards you get – and you can bring them with you across all the different devices that Fortnite works on!
To do this, you just need to link your game on consoles, phones and tablets to your Epic Games account, and as long as you link to the same account on every device, you’ll get all your rewards, items and other stuff no matter which device you’re on at the time. That way, you don’t have to buy multiple Battlepasses – just play on whatever device suits you at the time and your progress counts.
This even extends to the original Save the World co-op game mode, which you can buy as an optional extra. You only need to buy it once, on one device – after which it’ll be available for you to play on all of them. Epic Games has fought hard to make their game truly cross-platform, and it’s one of the very few games that can do it across every device.
And as mentioned above, yes, you can party up with your friends even if you’re on a phone and they’re on a PC or console. You really can get your Fortnite with your friends anytime, anywhere.
What Sort of Internet Connection Do I Need to Play Fortnite?
In common with most multiplayer games, the amount of data used by Fortnite while you’re playing is pretty minimal compared to almost anything else you’d be doing online. Even though your device and the game server have to stay in constant communication to keep track of where you and other players are on the map (and of course, who’s defeated who) the data sent and received is easily handled even by slow connections. The thing you’ll want to keep an eye on, though, is if you’ve got multiple people in a household using the internet. If your home broadband is a slower NBN plan, and a housemate is streaming a movie or downloading a game, the connection can end up running at its limit – and that can cause real-time game data to get delayed going to and from your device.
The most natural solution is, of course, to get an internet connection that’s fast enough to handle multiple users. NBN 50 plans are a great middle-ground, though many gamers will want NBN 100 if they can get it – just for the blazing download speeds and ability to use the internet for many things at once without any slowdown.
What are the Best Internet Plans for Fortnite?
So speed is essential – the most significant difference you’ll notice as a Fortnite player when you’re choosing a broadband internet plan is raw speed, not so much for actually playing the game, but for downloading it and keeping it updated – a faster connection will assure you of rock-solid gameplay as well. But it’s that download size that’ll annoy you, especially on days when updates arrive. With gigabytes to download and very frequent updates and patches made to the game, you’ll be a lot happier if your internet connection is up to the challenge of downloading huge files as fast as possible.
But when actually playing the game, you want an internet connection that’s well optimised for gaming – low latency, the most direct route possible to the game’s servers and rock-solid reliability. For that, MyRepublic’s Gamer Pro plans might be just what you’re looking for, with them being tuned specifically for gaming – including, of course, Fortnite – for the lowest possible latency and optimised network performance. Gamer Pro is only available at the NBN’s fastest speed, too – 100 Mbps down and 40 Mbps up if your NBN connection can handle it. With access to a support team that can tweak their network when needed for the best gaming performance, it might be one worth checking out – especially since you can try it without a long-term contract to see how it performs for you.
Last audited 29 September 2020
How Do You Get in Touch with Fortnite Support?
The first port of call for any questions you might have about Fortnite is Epic’s comprehensive help page, which has answers ready to go for the most frequently asked questions about the game itself, payments and accounts and how to use the game’s other modes. You can search for answers at the top of that page or, if you can’t find a solution that fits with your issue, click to send an instant support request direct to Epic Games.
PC and Mac users should also bookmark the Epic Games Launcher help page, which provides a point of info and contact for everything relating to the launcher and the Store – including, of course, Fortnite purchases.
Should You Try Fortnite?
Unlike most other gaming phenomenons, Fortnite has a distinct advantage in that it’s totally and completely free to play the part of the game that everyone wants to be a part of – Battle Royale. You can jump in on your computer, console or mobile device and play to your heart’s content without ever spending a cent, and you’ll know soon enough whether it’s going to turn into something you want to spend more of your time in. With constant new events, surprises and gameplay twists being added by Epic to keep things exciting and mix up the action a little (like the controversial addition of “mechs” in Season 10) this isn’t a game that’s content to sit around getting boring. Give it a try!