Every few years, there’s always one game that becomes a worldwide phenomenon, with seemingly everyone, including Josh from accounting, unable to shut up about it.
Right now, Fortnite is that game. People are constantly logging into the online tracker to check their stats, or finding out when the latest “season” is up, and what new challenges are available. There’s a ton of conversation and memes surrounding the game outside of just the gameplay, too. It’s expanded to multiple platforms, even iOS and Android.
And just like most “craze games,” people inevitably develop addictions to playing, so much so that it becomes a huge part of their lives. And it seems that some relationships can’t handle the strain of the new Fortnite addiction, because there have already been over 200 divorce proceedings that mention the game in their claims in the United Kingdom alone.
This is how the creators of Fortnite know they’ve hit the big leagues: Once your title starts being accused of tearing families apart, you’ve hit the zenith of the media cycle. First, it was a darling little title, now it’s public enemy # 1. Such news comes with the territory.
The study was published by Divorce Online, a service that specializes in assisting couples who can’t work out their differences to break the knot they originally tied.
In fact, the number of divorce cases in the UK that mention Fortnite by name accounts for about 5 percent of all official separations in the country, writes a representative for Divorce Online:
“These numbers equate to roughly 5 percent of the 4,665 petitions we have handled since the beginning of the year and as one of the largest filers of divorce petitions in the U.K. is a pretty good indicator.”
Although it’s tempting to blame the “annoyingness” of Fortnite, its cartoon-ey aesthetic, insufferable fans, and ridiculously lame dances for the reason behind familial suffering, I think it’s safe to say that if a video game “ruined” your marriage, your union was probably doomed from the beginning.
Like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and other game phenomenons in the past, Fortnite is just another case of digital media addiction, which is becoming an increasingly common marital gripe among couples.
The World Health Organization just recently established “Gaming Disorder” as a significant public mental health condition and is currently investigating the addiction as a standalone problem with its own unique symptoms and treatments.
Which seems like a worthwhile endeavor, as the gaming industry only continues to flourish and see increased profits. In July of 2018 alone, video game fans have dumped some $8.2 billion into the industry.
Although Fortnite is a free-to-play title, it sits at the top of that money-making heap — there are plenty of extras that fans of the game don’t mind paying for, like new “skins” for your on-screen avatars.
Fortnite is the fifth earner for PC titles and it rules the top spot for all consoles as well, making it a cross-platform income powerhouse, which means that it’s probably here to stay for quite some time.
There are other “battle royale” style games that are coming out or are already available that may cut into the revenue streams of Fortnite and its popular brand of quirkiness.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds already has a solid playerbase that is growing daily, and the upcoming Call of Duty: Blacks Ops 4 and Battlefield V looks to capitalize on the trend that Fortnite popularized among so many gamers.
This isn’t the first time the game’s been mentioned in the news amid controversy. Recently, one of Fortnite’s top streamers and arguably the game’s best player, Ninja, got into a bit of trouble online when he made some comments regarding playing with female streamers.
Ninja is one of Twitch’s most popular streamers, with over 11.3 million followers and some of the most watched videos on the platform. He’s so popular that even celebs have gamed with him online or in friendly matches of IRL basketball.
Due to his popularity and mainstream appeal, gaming with Ninja or receiving his “blessing” could make or break the careers of other hopeful full-time streamers, which is why he came under such heavy fire when he said that he doesn’t play online with female streamers for the sake of his own marriage.
Many found his comments sexist and were disappointed by the gamer’s decision to openly give his reasons as to why he doesn’t play with female gamers.
Ninja defended his decision, saying that he found that the best way to stay away from “flirting” rumors or any type of supposed online chemistry with female gamers was to never get into that kind of situation.
Some argued that it would be much “healthier” for Ninja’s young male audience members to see that friendly relationships with members of the opposite sex based on mutual respect can exist.
Although there was a ton of social media outrage regarding Ninja’s comments, it hasn’t seemed to hurt the pro gamer’s career in the slightest. Just like I don’t think the news that Fortnite is “responsible” for so many divorces will stop married people from playing the game at all. I mean, Ninja himself is happily married and he plays the game for a living, so there’s that.