The wildly addictive multiplayer game Fortnite has taken the world by storm ever since it launched its Battle Royale mode in September 2017.
According to the National Association of Collegiate eSports, there are currently more than 80 schools in the United States that have e-sports teams, with a coach, daily practices and league matches against other schools. What’s more, some are even offering scholarships. Ohio’s Ashland University is one of the first to offer a scholarship specifically for Fortnite. Based on player skill level and academic requirements, Ashland’s e-sports scholarship can be as high as $4,000. The National Association of Collegiate eSports offered $9 million in e-sports scholarships.
The cross-platform game is available on computers, gaming consoles and smartphones. Pretty much anyone can play it. 125 million people around the world have already done so, with more than 40 million people logging in to play every month.
Besides being free, the game lacks the realism of many of the other popular games and therefore appeals to a broad audience. The concept is simple: Players sit in a flying bus and can drop down onto a map at any time to enter a battlefield. The player then has about 20 minutes to build fortresses, find supplies and take-down other players until the last man is standing.
Fortnite: Battle Royale isn’t the first game to have this type of game play, though. Last year’s smash hit, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) had the same 1-vs-100 Battle Royale gameplay. One of the biggest attractors for Fortnite, however, is that it’s more accessible: it’s free-to-play. Not “free” like those mobile games that want you to spend money on gems to do anything, either. You can play Fortnite: Battle Royale to your heart’s content for the low, low price of nothing. Sure, if you start buying costumes and battle passes and whatnot, you’re going to spend some serious dough (skins can cost up to $20), but all those things are entirely optional.
In addition to being free, Fortnite is available for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and iOS (and soon Android). Most US households have at least one of those platforms, and with the low system requirements, even a beat-up old laptop has a good chance of running Fortnite.
In contrast, Fortnite’s closest competitor, PUBG, is only available on Xbox One and PC, with a protracted experience available on Android. PUBG is notoriously unoptimized, and can be choppy even on a high-end PC or Xbox One X. Furthermore, you have to pay $30 for the game, which is a barrier that some potential players don’t want to cross—especially when Fortnite is free.
Not only is Fortnite: Battle Royale accessible on a wide range of devices, it’s a relatively family-friendly game. PUBG goes for a realistic artwork style and sharp graphics, whereas Fortnite is a lot more cartoony. As opposed to replicas of real-life firearms, Fortnite weapons are large and look like something out of Looney Tunes. This has the effect of making the game appealing to a broad age range, whereas PUBG is aimed towards a more mature audience. This graphic style makes it a game you don’t mind playing with your kids in the room, or even letting them have a turn.
But has its obsession gone way too far? With so many children devoting hours to Fortnite there are fears it could cross the divide between hobby and obsession – and that its violence, however slapstick, may have an unhealthy impact.
There have been many incidents where parents have reported their children of playing up to 6 or 7 hours STRAIGHT. It has become such an obsession that people are sending their children to psychologists and anti-Fortnite departments have been opened up in many schools around the globe. Although its craze in Pakistan is just beginning, parents should be careful not to let their children get too obsessed with it. It may not affect their psychology but it sure would affect their grades and their future.