Fortnite. Not for everyone just yet.

My son is into “Fortnite” at the moment. It’s his first “shooting” game but the characters are a little more “cartoon-like” and there’s no real gore that I can see. In all honesty, I’ve not really got “into” the PS4 a great deal. I know it’s very powerful, and I know that there’s a lot of very expensive games available for it and I know that it was a pain (with all that sub-account stuff) to setup. However, what I didn’t fully realise was that, as part of the Playstation Network subscription (which I assume most people have), you can download a selection of “free” games each month.

Clever this. The console itself, when you buy it, is going to cost you some wedge. Then, in order to play with friends and create / join a “Party”, you’ll need to buy a yearly Playstation Network Pass. In addition, if you want to broadcast your gameplay, you’ll need a Twitch account and so it continues. Those “free apps” though, well, they’re not totally free. First of all, you need that subscription to download them. Then, when you’ve got them and you get properly “involved” in a game, you might want to buy upgrades with in-app purchases. In Fortnite you can buy “VBucks” which help you get better accessories, kit and upgraded skills.

As I mentioned before, I’m really not sure how long this sort of tactic has been happening on the PS4. It’s new to me. I’ve always related a console with a trip to a gaming store for a very expensive game on a disc. Now you can easily buy and then download the games, and some of them are free to play. It’s a bit like the lines between a smartphone and a console are blurring even further, because you do the same on a smartphone.

This takes me to the fact that Fortnite has popped up on some iPads now. In a way I think Sony kinda missed a trick, especially as we’re all waiting for the mobile version of Fortnite to appear on more devices. Imagine if they’d done a launch of the XZ2 with Fortnite pre-installed? That would’ve been a great pitch.

With the availability of full console games on smartphones, it’s now apparent that the smartphone is becoming a true portable gaming solution. Yes, the console is still arguably more powerful, but the smartphone will usually win on portability. It gives you a huge amount of additional choice too, as there’s a lot more games available on a smartphone and a lot more of them are “free to play”. There’s more categories of games too, including best rated mobile casinos and, if you buy a really cheap Google Cardboard, you can strap the phone to your face and have a virtual reality casino while you’re sat on the bus.

To get something similar on a console, you’d probably need to invest in a VR solution which could dent your bank balance quite substantially, but you’d probably be locked into a smaller choice of games.

What we have seen though, is that console games don’t always move across to smartphones very smoothly. They’re not always compatible with every phone and you’ll usually need quite a powerful device (like Fortnite with the newer iPad / iPhones) in order to get it working. This still needs work.