Fortnite. A lifestyle or an addiction?

 

A new video game has taken the country by storm, and taking over people’s lives

The game is called Fortnite and it has stolen the spotlight in the video game world and changed how people view video games.

The premise is that 100 players parachute onto an island with only a pickaxe. Players can choose to play alone or with a team up to four (they’re two separate game modes). When landing on the map, players forage for weapons and defensive items.  The goal is to be the last team or player standing out of 100.

Video games –since their creation — have faced criticism of desensitization of violence, addiction and other unhealthy behaviors. Especially with children.

However, video games today are a lot more socially interactive and serve as a healthy form of expression. Fortnite serves as a prime example of how this new style of socially interactive video games has become so popular.

Parents will always have concern when it comes to video games and their children’s mental health. Colin Post, 21, for example, said his parents would take his Xbox out of his room when it was his bedtime when he was younger. “I played video games every day on an average of like five or six hours,” Post said, “Eventually, as I got older, I grew out of it. I still play a lot of video games today, but nowhere near the amount I did when I was younger.”

Sport and Clinical Psychologist, Jonathan Fader says that video games today especially Fortnite are more interactive today. “The beauty of video games is that they’re moving from a solo experience to a more social experience that invite people to come together and bond over a social activity,” he said. 

Common setup of college students T.V’s when playing Fortnite. (Photo by: Derek Gaines/ Arizona Sonora News)

Richard Huskey, of an assistant professor at The Ohio State University School Communication, studies video game addictions from a neuroscience perspective. He says that a number of individuals undoubtedly suffer from video game addiction, but until criteria for assessing video game addiction are firmly established, it is difficult to justify appropriate levels of concern.

“Encouragingly, longitudinal studies suggest that for many gamers, video game addiction is not a long-term problem,” Huskey said, adding that video games have become  more socially interactive in past years and serve as a healthy platform to socialize.

“Some kids have difficulty socializing in person for different reasons. With video games, they’re still communicating, just virtually. In fact, in some cases socializing through video games serves as ‘training wheels’ for how kids communicate.”

Fortnite is by no means a violent game. While the premise is to shoot and eliminate opposing players, the game contains no blood or gore and has vibrant, cartoony-style graphics. 

In terms of popularity, no other video game has achieved the growth that Fortnite has had in seven months. The reason for that growth is the impact it’s had in popular culture and its recognition with public figures.

Just look at Tyler Blevins more commonly known as by his gaming alias, “Ninja,” who has risen to stardom in the gaming community through his streaming of Fortnite and recently broke 200,000 subscribers on Twitch, an online platform for watching and streaming video game broadcasts.

Blevins has gotten so big that he recently broadcasted a stream playing Fortnite with rappers Drake and Travis Scott and professional football player, JuJu Smith-Schuster. The stream had 635,429 concurrent viewers on Twitch and helped him gain over 90,000 subscribers which accounts for a total of at least $250,000 a month in revenue for him according to an article by Polygon.

Screenshot of Barstool Sports doing a segment on Fortnite and unhappy girlfriends. (Photo by: Derek Gaines/ Arizona Sonora News)

 Many athletes, musicians and entertainers stream themselves playing Fortnite on Twitch, social media accounts constantly post memes and videos of people playing the game, even some bars have marketed drinks pertaining to the game.

What separates Fortnite from other popular games is that it’s free. What started out as a demo trial has now turned into one of the most popular games in the country that has shaped the video game community.

Click here for a Word version of this story and high resolution photos

 

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