Marta J. August 1, 2019
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals have gotten the whole world talking about the battle royale title over the past few days and Fox Business decided to get in on the action.
It didn’t go well.
Speaking on the network’s Mornings With Maria program, a family therapist equated playing Fortnite with heroin use.
"It's a parental challenge, as there are many challenges, but this has really invaded the family system because it is so addictive," Family therapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling said. "It is likened to something like heroin."
She went on to discuss video game addiction, honing in on Prince Harry’s statements in April that Fortnite was “addicting” and “shouldn't be allowed.”
Smerling further claimed that even though esports has become a globally recognized phenomenon, it’s not truly socializing as there is “no human contact, and the ability to talk, listen, and speak with looking in the eyes.”
Is Fortnite addiction real?
Unsurprisingly, many were furious over the segment and vented their frustrations on social media. Any criticism of video games is going to be met with at least some resistance but equating Fortnite with heroin, a drug that the Center for Disease Control tied to 15,961 deaths in the United States in 2018, is absurd.
Video game addiction was recognized as a legitimate condition by the World Health Organization in May. This decision came following a shift in the video game industry towards titles that incentivize constant play, as Fortnite does with its battle pass and rewards system.
Still, the mainstream media has been making panicked, largely bogus reports about the addictive nature of specific video games since the rise of Space Invaders in the 1970s. This one might just be the most absurd. The clear ignorance of how video games are played coupled with the trivialization of opioid addiction made this report worthy of the jeers it received.