There are certain stories you just don’t think you’ll write while doing video game journalism. One of those is definitely the Duke of Sussex calling out what is arguably the most popular game in the world right now, wanting it and other games like it banned. Prince Harry, a member of the British royal family, wants to ban Fortnite, saying that “it was created to addict” and that it’s “irresponsible” and “shouldn’t be allowed.”
These comments were made during a visit to a YMCA in West London, where he was speaking with mental health experts about the impacts of violent, addictive video games and social media on young people. He also attested that “social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol.”
Prince Harry questioned parents, asking “What is the benefit of having it in your household?” He’s not happy with how the game is created to be “an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible.” He warned of a “global epidemic around young people’s mental health,” which he alludes addiction to Fortnite, social media, and other addictive internet elements are to be blamed.
The Duke of Sussex didn’t mention the loot box element that’s got most other people talking. It seems like his problem simply stems from the amount of time young people are spending in front of computers and on the internet (which I have to chuckle at as I type this on a computer to post on the internet). “We are in a mind-altering time,” he said.
Most of the industry’s current conversation doesn’t surround general addiction, but the exploitation of addiction through things like loot boxes. Fortnite itself has seen lawsuits concerning the loot boxes in the Save the World side of the game, but most of the addiction that Prince Harry is referring to comes from the extensive time kids spend playing the Battle Royale mode.
General gaming addiction has come up recently as the World Health Organization seeks to add “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases, which says that gaming addiction is an actual disorder, and not just a symptom of addictive personalities.
What do you think about the Prince Harry Fortnite ban comments? Does he have a point, or is this more rhetoric from people who don’t play and don’t understand video games?