The online video game Fortnite has enchanted the minds of children and adults worldwide.
The online video game Fortnite has enchanted the minds of children and adults worldwide. Rick Koenig

The issue with Fortnite

IT'S the video game that's making parents tear their hair out.

Fornite is a free online multi-player game that places 100 gamers in a Hunger Games-style scenario where they have to survive the longest, using weapons and building materials on a map that is constantly shrinking due to a deadly storm.

It has turned into a worldwide phenomenon.

Creator Epic Games made nearly $300 million in April alone from selling in-game cosmetics, with more than 40million gamers playing each month.

A live stream of the game by professional player Ninja and rapper Drake saw more than 600,000 viewers tune in, breaking the record for most views on the streaming platform Twitch.

But Fortnite has become somewhat of a problem for parents, who are struggling to get their children off the game.

Banora Point mother and primary school teacher Robyn Withers said she had to ban her 12-year-old son, Reece, from playing the game as he was "obsessed” and was sometimes playing with strangers who would take advantage of his lack of experience.

"He was joining up with people he didn't know and they were all older people who knew all the tricks about stealing weapons from him and it had a real negative impact on him,” she said.

"He is really obsessed by it, he just got in the door and ran straight down the stairs to go on it, he'll go on now until dinner time and it will be a battle to get him off.

"It's a double-edged sword because it's quite fun to play with your friends and I understand that but it's got so much of a pull that it's really hard for them to break away from it.”

Fortnite has attracted more than 40 million players each month.
Fortnite is attracting more than 40 million players each month.

The game, which is free for users but allows players to use real money to purchase "V-Bucks”, allows players to use the in-game currency to purchase costumes, dance moves, emotes and more.

The system has seen many children asking for V-Bucks instead of real cash for their pocket money.

Ms Withers said Reece had already bought some V-bucks and "was asking me every day if he could have some more”.

"It's really taken the kids by storm, now they're doing the dances, my son does it, it drives me nuts, the kids at school are doing it, they're just like headless chickens,” she said.

But the game hasn't just been a problem for parents.

Fortnite addiction has become an issue among professional athletes, including Major League Baseball players.

After one pitcher had to miss a game due to a case of carpal tunnel, the pitcher said he would stop playing Fortnite.

Cabarita mother Katherine said all four of her boys, aged between 10 and 13, played the game and their internet usage had sky-rocketed.

"Since they got Fortnite, we had never gone over 100gigabytes and we're now averaging 350,” she said.

Katherine said a weekday ban on electronics meant her family did not struggle as much as others but admitted it was "a challenge on the weekend”.

"It's a bit of a time-sucker, they can't finish until it's up to the last kill or they've been killed,” she said.

A landmark ruling in the Netherlands earlier this year claimed in-game purchases such as V-Bucks were forms of gambling and ordered publishers to modify the games. Whether that same ruling will apply in Australia is yet to be known.