Epic is introducing a new child-friendly account type to make it safer for young children to engage with online games like Fortnite, Fall Guys and Rocket League.
Cabined accounts automatically apply to Epic accounts owned by players under the age of 13, "or their country's age of digital consent, whichever is higher." It'll disable features like voice and free text chat, buying games or add-ons, downloading games that aren't owned by Epic, custom display names, and linking the Epic account to places like Facebook and Twitch. Some of these features can be reactivated through the provided parent or guardian's email, with kids able to ask for permission for them to be enabled.
Kids will still be able to play games like Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys online with friends and strangers. Any previous purchases made or in-game rewards earned will also stick around. It'll just lock features like chatting or buying battle passes unless allowed by a designated adult. Epic says cabined accounts should provide "a tailored experience that is safe and inclusive for younger players using the store or launcher while also maintaining access to the gameplay you love."
Though it's probably pretty easy for kids to lie and say they're over the age of 13 to circumvent a locked-down account, I'm sure it'll still prove a useful tool to those who know how to make full use of Epic's new feature.
Online safety across all age groups is becoming an ever-present concern for developers, and the onus is increasingly being put on them to create safer, more pleasant ways to engage with the games we love. Just recently we've seen Riot and Blizzard introduce voice chat recordings for Valorant and Overwatch 2 to help weed out toxic babies. Streaming service Twitch has been strengthening its methods to keep children safe since a September Bloomberg report highlighted ways child predators engaged with youngsters on the site.