Everyone is playing Fortnite it seems. Friends, family, colleagues… I’m pretty sure even the retired guy who lives across the street from me plays the game.
And he’s in his 70s.
It shouldn’t be so surprising. With over 250 million players, it’s been one of the hottest games since its launch to the point that Business Insider proclaims it to be the most important game of the next decade.
Are you unsure if someone plays the game or not? Simply ask them the following question:
Do you remember your very first Battle Royale win?
Their eyes will light up, voice rise an octave as they excitedly talk about where they landed on the map, kill score, load-outs, and a multitude of other terms that have no place outside of that world. They will go on for some time, detailing the number of and manner in which they disposed of their competitors with vivid detail.
They are hooked.
Which is what a game, featuring fast-paced action, bright colors, and designed by specialists in human psychology and behavior, is meant to do. What can be done? The first thing is to determine the depth of their Fortnite addiction.
Here are the Signs You Need a Timeout from Fortnite
Before Instead of Work
With addiction, the brain begins attributing the survival instinct to detrimental activities. As your brain receives endorphins and other, good feeling reinforcements for committing to the activity, other tasks lose their importance.
Such a shift can go from playing before work to playing to the point of being late for work to actually missing work altogether. When you are actually at work, you’re not the best employee. You’re still playing in meeting rooms or sitting at your desk, with headphones on.
Many addicts have reported losing multiple jobs due to their need to get their gaming fix in.
When the Free Version is no Longer Free
The appeal of Fortnite Battle Royal is that it’s free to play. In reality, it doesn’t stay that way, especially once players are addicted. Nir Eyal explains how this works in his book, Hooked.
… in the free-to-play video game business, it is standard practice for game developers to delay asking users to pay money until they have played consistently and habitually. Once the compulsion to play is in place and the desire to progress in the game increases, converting users into paying customers is much easier. Selling virtual items, extra lives, and special powers are where the real money lies.‘Hooked’ by Nir Eyal
When you’re spending a lot of money, emptying your credit cards and, like some Fortnite addicts in Australia, stealing from your loved ones to buy things in the game, that’s a red flag.
All I Want to do is Game
Activities you once enjoyed doing (hanging out with friends, spending time with family, going to the movies, etc.) no longer appeal to you. All you want to do is continue playing and, when you’re not playing, you’re thinking about searching for loot boxes more than whatever you are doing. You have few to no friends left who don’t play Fortnite.
Your Anger is a Quick-trigger Like a Heavy Gun
Your patience, regardless of how it was before playing, is noticeably shorter now. It’s noticeable to the point that other people are commenting on how short-tempered you’ve become.
Or they avoid you altogether.
Losing battles makes you increasingly furious and winning provides more relief than enjoyment.
The ever-decreasing time where you’re not playing the game is filled with anxiety and apprehension like you’re going to have a panic attack, which only subsides when you resume playing.
I’m not Playing… I Promise
Have you started lying to family members or significant others about playing? Do you make up excuses for what you were doing when really you were sitting in front of the video game console? This can even include downplaying (“Oh, I only play occasionally”) to full out misrepresentation (“I don’t really even like Fortnite too much”).
If some of these symptoms sound familiar, you may have developed an unhealthy relationship with Fortnite. But don’t worry. There are steps you can take to help you address your addiction. But, first and foremost…
Remember, You Are Not Alone
Every day, more people are reporting their Fortnite addiction. Some health experts say it’s more addictive than heroin and, according to GQ, it has been cited as the reason for hundreds of divorces. A wide range of people, from students to professional athletes, has dealt with struggling to control their playing.
Owning and accepting it is the first step. Here’s how to take it further:
Proven Ways to One Tap your Fortnite Addiction
Take time each day for a week, even as little as a few minutes, to reflect on your goals (what do you want to accomplish?), your direction (what are you doing to get to your goals?), and your plans (how will you stay on the path to your goals?). How does Fortnite factor into your plan? Escapism isn’t a solution. As Junot Díaz writes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao‘ by Junot Díaz
No number of victory royales will advance you toward the goals you want to achieve in life. It may be necessary to involve professional help at some phase.
Start keeping a gaming log and try to measure how much you play. Once you have an idea, start weaning yourself off the game by playing a percentage less over a given time period. For example, if you record that you play 35 hours of Fortnite a week, start by cutting back 15% percent (down to 30 hours) for a week.
Repeat this as needed to get down to a point where you’re playing less than an hour a day and, from there, you can pivot to quitting altogether.
If you can’t trust yourself to stay away from playing Fortnite, employ a site blocker/restrictor like Cold Turkey, Freedom, or RescueTime. Each app works differently and depends on preference.
But the important thing is to manage your gameplay by restricting access to the gaming server.
Now that you’re not playing Fortnite, you need to find an outlet for that energy and activity to fill the time. It’s important to have activities which help you relax and so not all the time which was previously spent gaming needs to be filled with work.
Do you love exploring the maps on Fortnite? Take up hiking or biking.
Do you love foraging for parts to build? Take up craftwork.
Whatever your passion, there’s a real-life activity that can both fulfill the engagement you get from the game and produce measurable benefits.
As a final and sometimes necessary step, it may be needed to eliminate the ability to play the game in any capacity. Delete the game from your devices and, as called for, get rid of the device itself. You can’t revert back to playing a game that isn’t accessible.
When confronting an addiction, keeping a positive and measured approach is paramount. One day at a time. Just as it took character to build up your status in Fortnite, it will take determination to wrest your life free. Addressing the issue as soon as possible is the best way to give yourself a chance to recover and continue on to a fulfilled life.