If you thought PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds felt the blunt of Fortnite's unprecedented success this year, there are much more personal stakes too. According to a sample of 200 divorce petitions beginning January 1, 2018, Fortnite and other online games has been cited as a top reason.
The data comes from the top Divorce website in the UK and the sample represents approximately 5% of all the petitions they handled thus far this year. They decided to dig into the data after noticing Fortnite being repeatedly listed as an issue in these marriages.
A spokesperson for the company explains:
"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...
These now include online pornography, online gaming and social media, so it is no surprise to us that more and more people are having relationship problems because of our digital addictions."
This is especially interesting given that Fortnite's demographics lean young, with nearly two-thirds of its player base in the 18-24 age range with the most popular segment coming from college-aged men (men in total, account for 72% of the total Fortnite player base) according to research by Verto Watch and Statista conducted earlier this year. It just goes to show how massive and far-reaching Fortnite has been, helped in part by it being a free-to-play game, financed via in-game cosmetic microtransactions.
Fortnite remains one of the most popular games in existence and the current king of the "battle royale" genre, where 100 players are dropped into a shrinking map with only one player (or team) that can win. It took the throne from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) amidst controversy that it lifted elements (and was built by Epic Games, the makers of the very same game engine that was licensed for the development of PUBG). Both games were developed on relatively short development periods and released in "early access" states. The first real competition to both comes this fall with triple-A publishers and developers entering the market with their own takes on the battle royale format.
Up first is Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 which just tested its "Blackout" mode last week to great success, and not too long after, Electronic Arts will introduce a battle royale mode titled "Firestorm" as a post-launch addition to Battlefield V. If all of these titles are as addictive as Fortnite, there's going to be a lot of strain on relationships...