Why is Fortnite asking me for my birthday?

Epic Fortnite

Cabin in the (wailing) woods

Fortnite players who log in to play the wildly popular free-to-play battle royale game may be faced with an unexpected screen asking them to enter their birthday. Don’t get too excited — Epic Games probably won’t be sending you a birthday present any time soon. Fortnite is asking for your birthday as a part of a new online safety initiative.

Epic Games recently instituted a new system called “cabined accounts.” Cabined accounts allow players under the age of 13 to play Fortnite and various other Epic-published titles with some restrictions, so the game needs your age to know whether your account should be cabined.

What are cabined accounts?

Cabined accounts are accounts for younger Fortnite players. All cabined accounts allow access to the game itself, which is about as kid-friendly as a shooter can get. However, certain extraneous features are subject to parental consent.

Per Epic Games’ cabined accounts FAQ, players with cabined accounts will need a parent or guardian’s permission to access some features. Players must provide their parent’s email address to obtain parental permission. From there, parents can tweak their child’s account to their liking.

What features require permission?

By default, cabined Epic Games accounts can’t access most of the features available to other accounts. All they can do without parents’ permission is view and play games they already own (including Fortnite).

To be a bit more specific, the cabined accounts FAQ clarifies that the following features are inaccessible to cabined accounts by default: communication via voice and text chat, purchasing items with real money, downloading non-Epic games, receiving personalized recommendations, receiving email marketing, making trades in Rocket League, linking non-Epic accounts (e.g., social media accounts), using custom display names, and SMS-based two-factor authentication.

All of these features are available with parents’ permission. Players older than 13 can access all features without any major changes (if certain features aren’t available, it may be wise to check your privacy settings).

Sorrel Kerr-Jung
Sorrel Kerr-Jung has been playing video games for as long as she's been capable of pressing buttons. Her hobbies include insisting that she'll replace her GBA's screen soon. Find her on Twitter: @sorrelkj.