Since mid-September, dozens of media around the world, including France, have told us that “The game of Fortnite has been implicated in hundreds of divorces, according to an investigation”.
“Fortnite” has been an extremely popular online video game for several months, with more than 78 million people playing this past August alone. He would be addicted to the point that he would be responsible for hundreds of divorces in the UK. This is what states a press release from the site Divorce Online, which specializes in divorce petitions. “We noted that there was an increase in searches on our site mentioning ‘Fortnite’ as one of the reasons given for initiating divorce proceedings. As of January 1, 200 divorce applications submitted on our site mentioned an addiction to ‘ Fortnite ‘or other online games “.
Except there are several strange things in this story. In the first place, this study, therefore, does not come from researchers or an official institute, but from a commercial site. So these are not official divorce applications, but forms that are completed online on this site.
Also, “Fortnite” is not the only culprit as the press release also talks about other online games. And above all, the press release talks about 200 divorce applications invoking a video game addiction in … 4,665 forms in total. This means that of all the site visitors who have decided to fill out the online form, “Fortnite” or other online games appear in only 5% of the cases.
Identifying a social phenomenon from 4,665 forms of which we do not know its authors, their true motivations or if they are representative of the population, is also a bit of light.
This is not the first time that Divorce Online has been discussed. In 2011, the same website explained that “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty”, two very popular games, were responsible for 15% of divorces in the UK.
In 2012, again according to Divorce Online, Facebook was responsible for almost 30% of divorces in the UK. At that time, the site was already warning about the appearance of new risk behaviors linked to the rise of social networks and online video games.
And meanwhile, with a few minor exceptions, the actual number of divorces is declining year over year in the UK – a third less than in the early 2000s.
In short, no, the video game “Fortnite” is not responsible for hundreds of divorces in the UK. This story is especially for Divorce Online a good free publicity stunt thanks to the media browsing the current success of “Fortnite”.
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