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SYFY WIRE Fortnite

Prince Harry wages royal battle against Fortnite, says it ‘shouldn’t be allowed’

By Benjamin Bullard
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Don’t count on support from the Crown if you’re looking for backup the next time you take the field in Fortnite. Britain’s Prince Harry is apparently no fan of the battle royale genre’s addictive gameplay cocktail of dropping in, loading up, and looting out.

The sixth person in line for the throne recently let British parents know he’d like to see a top-down mandate that would limit or even ban young people’s access to Epic Games’ free-to-play free-for-all. Via The Daily Express, the prince accused Fortnite’s creators of intentionally devising ways to get players hooked for good on the game — a goal he characterized as cynical and “irresponsible.”

“The game shouldn’t be allowed,” Harry reportedly told parents while visiting a West London YMCA. “It’s created to addict; an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.”

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In terms of sheer numbers, the prince certainly has a knack for picking the biggest target in the battle royale gaming space. Although the recently launched Apex Legends has made an impressive early insurgence into the battle royale genre territory that Fortnite already had staked out, Fortnite remains by far the world’s most popular free-to-play game. At last check, more than 250 million user accounts had been activated for Fortnite worldwide, dating back to the game’s July 2017 debut.

The Duke of Sussex didn’t stop merely at calling to regulate or restrict kids’ access to Fortnite, adding that getting hooked on the game may bear some connection with developing mental illness and, for players who spend too much time withdrawn from real human contact, could even render the most devoted gamers easy targets for online bullies.

“Without that human connection, when you do have a problem you have nowhere to go,” he reportedly said. “The only place you might go is online, and you will probably end up getting bullied.”

With his focus on better socialization and mental health, Harry evidently steered clear of the oft-repeated argument that gunplay-heavy games like Fortnite encourage players to commit real-world violent acts that they otherwise wouldn’t. Perhaps he’s seen that recent Oxford University study, which reported no connection between violent games and violent deeds. 

In the meantime, people probably aren’t likely to stop playing Fortnite — at least as long as it’s cheaper (as in, totally free) than an invigorating, blue-blooded pastime like polo. Whether in the U.K. or across the pond in the good old USA, Fortnite is still available — without restriction — for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and MacOS.

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