Fortnite - A New Game by Epic

Though, in fairness, being concerned about a product’s addictive qualities (especially when designed that way) is a bit different than a satanic scare.

I wouldn’t jump to a ban, but how devs design and market games that kids play is worth looking into.

They weren’t marketed to pre-teens or younger though. I certainly wouldn’t want my young kids playing the GTAs.

I do think the relationship between stimuli, mental states and actions is far more complicated than scaremongers think. For one thing, we’re all generally protected by a much higher social empathy level than previous generations had, and a much lower exposure to the kinds of real violence, death and abuse that traumatizes in significant ways. Nevertheless, I don’t feel this kind of experience belongs in a young mind. What real impact it has on an individual is hard to say though. Certainly I don’t think it’ll create a killer.

It pushes society down the desensitization road. It’s a cumulative effect, and it’s easy to see the results of violence becoming more acceptable in a culture. This process gets sped up when children are exposed, as they don’t have particularly developed senses of morality, right and wrong, etc.

It’s often hard to see if you’re involved in the culture you’re trying to observe and make judgements on. We live in a society where sex is still largely taboo, but blowing people’s heads off by the dozen is light entertainment. If you step back and really look at that, it’s incredibly sick. We’re just used to it.

I agree with some of what you said, but like I said, we’re mostly protected by the fact that morality as conceived by the majority includes all people. In western societies at least, we empathize with people of every race and color, making it so that we can conceive of killing virtual people but not real people (except for the psychopaths among us).

Additionally, I don’t think the sensations and emotions of virtual killing are equivalent to real killing, even when seen from afar. Our minds can tell the difference simply because we appear to have a ‘this is fiction’ switch in our brains, but I’m not sure kids’ minds have that switch, or when it develops.

I agree that we get desensitized to violence at some level – I’m just not sure what that level is. Someone growing up in the inner city and never playing video games is probably a lot more desensitized to violence than a nerd playing violent video games. I can also testify that after playing GTA for a long time, crazy fantasies of bumping into a driver who pisses me off on the road sometimes slip into my mind. My brain immediately censors those thoughts out, but I rarely get those thoughts without GTA’s influence. All of which is to say, there’s something there, but I’m not sure what.

As far as I know, we live in the least violent time in history. It’s total ignorant speculation, but I wonder if it’s actually because violence is so prevalent in our entertainment. No reason to go actually participate in it when you can do so vicariously.

Fortnite is not Meth FFS. It wasn’t “designed” to be addictive. Allot find it to be a freaky fun game period. To think Epic has some sinister plan to concoct games to addict our youth is plain dumb. So yea I’ll compare anybody here to Tipper Gore that is peddling this absurd bullshit.

There are literally numerous articles from systems designers explaining the science behind free-to-play revenue streams and how they maximize player retention and spending via the same mechanics that rule casino games. Fortnite may not be “designed” to addictive in the way an illicit drug is, but there is no way to deny that the systems don’t build on years of addictive behavior research.

Obviously banning Fortnite is dumb. Another game will just come along and replace it, so that’s a shortsighted response. But Prince Harry isn’t completely wrong in the broad sense that many games are purposefully meant to encourage addictive behavior and they are targeted to children.

I wonder what makes Fortnite so addictive. Minus f2p-stuff (plus lootboxes) wouldn’t it be as addictive as Quake was? Or any other competitive multiplayer game? Which can be quite addictive, as far as my experiences go. E.g. Apex Legends got me hooked for weeks.
But, as mentioned above by @KevinC, isn’t that quite the same thing as being addicted to basketball? (I can remember that time in my life as well…man, if I was taller I wouldn’t be here!! ;)). In these cases there is even some biochemical impact on your brain as well, isn’t it?
But those ‘cycles of addiction’ get easily and quite random to a halt, e.g. too much disappointment, not enough rewards, …not growing enough…, distraction, etc. Like with Quake and Basketball.

So shouldn’t this about the f2p-mechancis only? (Or about how social media + games …create cycles of addiction?)

I certainly think that F2P is a major contributor.

Of course, all game designers are trying to create engaging, fun, mindworm games that get their hooks into you (one more turn of Civ at quarter to three in the morning), but it is the F2P games that really need to fine tune their addictive approach since they have their hands out looking for micro-purchases every step of the process. Make sure that loot box opening sequence has that extra fanfare and confetti explosions or find ways to constantly show you the skins and cosmetics that other players have purchased.

Nothing should be banned, but we could do a better job of informing parents and raising awareness.

I think it’s also about non-gamers being exposed to a relatively well-made game in a way they weren’t before, due to how viral it’s become.

The presentation is very family-friendly. I have a sister who would never let my young newphews play anything as realistically violent as COD, but Fortnite is cartoony enough that she lets them play.

Multiply that by millions of soccer moms.

Playing videogames is bad and violent, but killing innocent animals is okay.

Is okay when I do real violence with real guns against innocent animals. But is bad when people do pretend violence for fun against each other, with nobody getting hurt, not even red pixels spoiled.

Yep. I consider this a problem. It sanitizes pretty extreme violence, and the cruelty of shooting somebody struggling to be revived (essentially dying in front of you) actually shocks me, despite years of violent video games. I’d be much happier if they were shooting paintballs in this game.

That Buffalo attacked him, it was all in self defence.

Intermittent reinforcement. There is quite a lot of study and writing on the subject, starting with B.F. Skinner, who was one of more noted behaviorists. Short version, intermittent rewards are more powerful than any other system, including always getting a reward. All of these treadmill games are based on the premise.

Singling out Fornite is indeed a bit silly, given that every game since Diablo that had any kind of loot system has employed this hook.


@Rod_Humble any thoughts?

Good thing unions can only bargain for wages and nothing else. Otherwise, that statement would be crazy!

He is generally right imho.

I have never had a desire nor seen a need for a union for me. But I recognize that there are many different types of careers in games. So I guess if game developers ever unionize then it would be multiple unions, not just one?

He frames the issue well. As anyone who is trying to recruit good games developers in 2019 will tell you, right now the power is with the talent, not the companies. In those circumstances I dont see how a union helps.

Its also worth noting that while the recent layoff headlines rightly make the news, any glut of talent is centered around certain disciplines but core fields remain extremely understaffed.

For example a senior engineer with games experience competent in C++, can walk into just about any games company they like.

I should note that a lot of the layoffs you have seen recently are also a reflection of the changing market eg: mobile is being hit hard with increasing UA costs and a customer hostile business model which, unsurprisingly, gamers from casual to core increasingly resent.

Its also the fact that games development is changing. You just dont need a lot of people to make a hit game anymore. This has a knock on effect for supporting disciplines, if you have a team of twenty then you dont need as many managers or production staff as you do with a team of 80, or 100.

Players are moving on to other games or buying less cosmetics it seems…