Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular multiplayer video games, is also becoming famous for less favorable reasons. According to AV News, the red-hot battle royale title is also responsible for 200 divorce proceedings this year alone, the numbers coming from Divorce Online. It should also be noted that Divorce Online is only including statistics from the U.K., meaning that the actual number is almost certainly much higher if all of the other nations were to be considered.
“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,” a representative for Divorce Online offered. “Addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling have often been cited as reasons for relationship breakdowns but the dawn of the digital revolution has introduced new addictions.”
Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world right now, according to Polygon, and the reasons why are complex and multifaceted. First of all, the game is free, making it available to anyone with a connection to the internet and compatible hardware to play it on. Beyond that, the graphics are cute and cartoonish despite the the heavy emphasis on gunplay, meaning that children and adults can enjoy the experience equally. The depth of play, particularly the inclusion of the building mechanic, differentiates Fortnite from other battle royale competitors, including the originator of the type, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Also, the multiple loot boxes, skins, and rewards for in-game achievements mean that the game rewards repeat play and dedication. This encourages players to log more hours in-game, and that some players will undoubtedly become hooked by the process of grinding for and unlocking loot boxes.
While relationships have long been strained by so-called video game addiction — World of Warcraft is an early target for the phenomenon according to the Daily Mail — it appears that the industry is showing no sign of slowing or stopping their psychological pull. Both Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Battlefield V, the two AAA first-person shooters to be released later this year, will feature their own battle royale modes that have proven so addictive for Fortnite players.
Are video games truly the new intoxicant driving couples apart? In an age where women and men share the hobby, it seems hard to point the finger at any particular demographic. Technology addiction is becoming a term that is being seriously considered in a high-information, high-stimulation environment constituting the citizen’s milieu in 2018.
According to CNBC, Apple is introducing a number of features to help combat tech addiction, and it seems certain that they will not be the last to do so as the problem becomes more prevalently cited.