The report is unsettling. On September 7, the U.K. divorce site revealed that so far in 2018, 200 U.K. couples have filed for divorce due to a spouse’s addiction to Fortnite and other games. While there are few known details, the report seems to single out video game addiction as being a mental illness, following the World Health Organization previously establishing gaming addiction as a public health concern.
Fortnite released in July 2017, but was slow to gain traction. After the introduction of a battle royale mode in September of last year, the game really took off, and has been building steam ever since. Due to various headlines, most have heard of Fortnite, and even more have played it. It even caught national news when, in an interview, Ninja explained how Fortnite works and revealed his salary.
While Fortnite has stolen away hundreds of hours from many players’ lives, the phenomenon has mostly been considered a good thing. Although its aim has clearly been geared towards kids, many parents support their kids playing Fortnite and some are even hiring Fortnite coaches. The game has been considered by many as being good for the industry due to Epic Games’ constant maintenance and implemented changes supported by player feedback.
Ever since the continuously controversial loot box scandal peaked nearly a year ago when EA was under fire for inserting game-changing loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront 2, video game addiction has been receiving headline after headline. Referring to excessively purchasing loot boxes as gambling, even some Congressmen are now using loot boxes in video games as one of their topics of discussion. Fortnite does not have loot boxes, but its daily refreshing item shop is a constant temptation to spend money on completely cosmetic items.
Although the report does not mention any details about the spouses’ spending habits, it is a reasonable assumption to make that it may have played a role. Studies have shown that 69% of Fortnite gamers have spent money on the free-to-play game, and the average amount spent of that 69% is $84.67. Unexpected purchases on Fortnite and other games have, perhaps, stunted many relationships over the years.
Fortnite is available now on iOS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and is currently in beta for Android.