Fortnite is apparently playing a part in quite a few modern divorces.
A U.K. divorce website claims that over 200 couples have cited video game addiction as a leading cause behind their decision to get a divorce. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fortnite (arguably the most popular game in the world) has been referenced in quite a few of those divorce proceedings. The website calculates that Fortnite and other such games account for roughly 5% of the number of official divorce requests filed in the U.K. this year.
Of course, that’s not taking into account the number of non-married couples who have split over Fortnite nor is it accounting for the number of married couples across the world who have ended it partially due to the influence of Epic’s incredibly successful battle royale title. We’re guessing that this isn’t some anomaly limited to this specific region.
At the same time, it’s also important to remember that this is hardly the first time that an addictive video game has played its part in a divorce. What separates games like Fortnite from titles like Everquest and World of Warcraft, though, is both the fact that Fortnite is instantly accessible (in terms of its gameplay and its availability across multiple devices) and that it’s possible to continue spending money on Fortnite in ways that exceed the costs of traditional subscription fees. In other words, Fortnite is capable of reaching a wider range of players and can consume a great deal of time and money.
You’re probably wondering “Why are we picking on video games when it’s clear that the root problem here is an addiction?” That’s a fair point. It’s also the point that many cited when the WHO defined gaming dependency as its own disorder rather than simply lump it in with other addictions.
While its hard to argue with that logic, there is something darkly amusing about Fortnite being the straw that breaks the back of so many marriages. There’s also something slightly less amusing about the idea that these numbers are likely to grow before they shrink.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.