Fortnite Game Addiction Blamed For 200 Divorces

Fortnite is not just the most popular video game in the world. It seems it is also a relationship destroyer.

According to DivorceOnline, a UK-based online divorce service offering affordable legal advice, the video game Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players fight in increasingly-smaller spaces to be the last person standing, has been cited in more than 200 divorce petitions filed through the site since January.

Spouses are not the only ones complaining about the viral video game. It has caused problems for schools and even professional sports teams. In July, the free-to-access game passed the billion-dollar threshold through in-app sales alone, and NBA player Andre Drummond released a statement in April that he was hooked. So much so, that he said, "It took my life over."

If that does not sound crazy, Ohio’s Ashland University announced earlier this year that it would be the first college in the US to offer scholarships specifically for the video game.

A spokesperson for the company said, "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. These numbers equate to roughly 5% of the 4,665 petitions we have handled since the beginning of the year and as one of the largest filers of divorce petitions in the UK, is a pretty good indicator."

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report warning that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition. In June, the agency said that classifying "gaming disorder" as a separate condition will "serve a public health purpose for countries to be better prepared to identify this issue."

Earlier this summer, a nine-year-old girl in the UK was sent to rehabilitation after becoming addicted to Fortnite to the extent that she was sitting on a urine-soaked chair as she would not refuse to leave her monitor.

Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO’s department for mental health, estimated the condition affects 23% of gamers. The mental health disorder characterized by behaviors such as losing control of the time, prioritizing gaming above other activities which negatively impacts on areas in a player’s life such as education, employment, and of course, relationships.

Meanwhile, the Fortnite addiction is real: 

When you put your Fortnite addiction over a potential fire

Colts pulled off a Fortnite celebration 

ABC Australia: Millions are playing it, but is Fortnite addiction really a thing?

For many, playing video games seems like a harmless pastime even as it consumes them alive and becomes an addiction with very real offline consequences.