Why is Fortnite So Addicting?

The game has become a serious problem.

Anna Hartwick

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It seems like everyone is playing Fortnite. Since its release in July of 2017, the game has gained more than 250 million players, among them famous faces such as Drake and an assortment of professional athletes, singers, and actors. The popular game was even in Marvel’s Endgame, and kids can be found doing Fortnite dances anywhere.

 

In fact, the game is so popular, one teenager kept playing as a tornado approached his house. Another was so addicted that she stopped going to the bathroom. Some parents have even sent their kids to rehab in the name of Fortnite— the World Health Organization just added gaming disorder under behavioral disorders.

 

Video games are arguably addictive because of how much it stimulates the brain. Between strategy, processing a situation, and motor skills, video games take a lot of brain power. This means that if a player succeeds in their goal, their mental payoff is also huge. In other words, chemicals like dopamine are released, which make you feel good.

 

This chemical reward is believed to be a survival tactic, according to Sciencing. Being rewarded makes you more likely to do things in order to survive. That’s why some people consider video game addiction to be real; by playing video games, you’re teaching your body that it needs video games in order to survive. 

 

But what makes Fortnite different?

 

According to the New York Times, Fortnite has all the elements that video game designers use to suck in an audience.

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Good graphics catch a player’s eye, a fast-paced game keeps them playing, and a bit of humor tops it all off. The social aspect of the game also creates pressure to play it.

 

Fortnite also includes the classic Near-Miss Effect, says WBUR, the NPR station of Boston. The Near-Miss Effect is when a player loses the game, but only by one crucial decision or moment. They almost won. So, since they were so close to winning, they decide to try again. And why not? They almost won the first time.

 

The Near Miss Effect can make someone go on for hours.

 

But, also according to WBUR, some argue that Fortnite is mostly addicting because it’s free.

 

Games from major publishers, such as Fortnite, usually cost money to download. Instead, Fortnite earns money by placing an emphasis on customization and style, which players can do through in-games purchases. So, anyone can play while the game still makes money.

 

That sets up the potential for a massive audience. The numbers don’t lie; in August of 2017, the game had one million players. That number skyrocketed to 250 million in March of 2019, according to Statista. 

 

Regardless of the reason why Fortnite is so addicting, there is no question that is a popular game.

 

Top image courtesy of theconversation.com