Video Games

Prince Harry Blames Fortnite Addiction, Social Media for the World's Ills

Maybe people are just playing to escape all the Brexit news?


Prince Harry

The United Kingdom's government is in the midst of a bit of a disaster. The citizens voted in favor of Brexit—of ending the country's membership in the European Union. Their political leaders, especially Prime Minister , have not been able to come to a consensus on how to actually navigate leaving.

The Brexit mess has progressed (or failed to progress) to the point that Prime Minister Theresa May even offered to resign if Parliament approved a plan, and it refused even then. May can't even successfully resign in disgrace.

But never mind all of that. According to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the big problems in England are the popular video game Fortnite and addiction to social media.

In a rant Thursday at a YMCA in West London, Harry blamed Fortnite for video game addiction and said it should be banned.

"That game shouldn't be allowed. Where is the benefit of having it in your household?," he said, according to the BBC. "It's created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It's so irresponsible….It's like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down."

This is very familiar, and very tiresome. The history of video games is full of complaints essentially identical to Harry's, just with the name of the game changed. We've seen it going all the way back to Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

Few people are spending their days in neon blue mazes fleeing ghosts and hunting for random pieces of fruit to eat. There is no memorial to the millions who succumbed to "Pac-Man Fever." Yet even now, some cultural critics still describe Pac-Man as though it had been a real-world cultural threat based on anecdotal stories from a bygone age.

Fortnite is very popular, earning $2.4 billion in revenue for publisher Epic Games and boasting about 250 million players. It's not out of line to call it currently the most popular video game in the world. It's definitely the Pac-Man of 2019.

It is "addictive" in the sense that people like to play it and are playing it a whole lot. Some of these people are children and others with little self-control, and so they're playing it for hours on end. The history of video games shows us that people will not be playing Fortnite for hours on end forever; eventually they will move on to other games or hobbies.

The BBC also calls video games a "booming" industry, as though the growth is a new thing, in order to somehow make Fortnite appear to be a novel phenomenon and not a game following typical trends of popularity. Video games have been a remarkably popular part of culture ever since they were introduced. They're earning more money for the same reasons the movie industry is earning more money: They are growing more technologically accessible and are increasingly available worldwide to larger audiences at reasonable prices.

That some people might choose video games over other options and even over family interactions has been forever treated as a symptom of addiction, but those who are actually study video game addiction say they see such problems in less than 2 percent of players. Even the BBC, while giving Prince Harry a platform to declare that Fortnite is designed to "create" addiction, notes a recent study showing a mere .3 percent of gamers having trouble controlling the amount of time playing games. As one professor, Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute, explains, people who play games for long lengths of times may be doing so as a coping mechanism. It probably wasn't Fortnite that destroyed a person's marriage; more likely, it was the relationship problems he or she tried to avoid by playing instead.

Prince Harry's comments are typical of a different kind of cultural addiction: an addiction to demanding that the government make tough decisions that are supposed to be handled by parents. Prince Harry is about to become a dad, and he's essentially complaining about the challenges of taking responsibility for raising a child. In the U.K., this demand that government make parenting decisions has led to everything from advertising bans on any food the government declares to be unhealthy (just about everything) to the possibility of total portion control of what British people can eat.

The good news for Prince Harry is that by the time his kid is old enough to play games, the culture will have likely moved on to something besides Fortnite. The bad news is that Prince Harry, despite claiming to have taken on mental health as an important cause, has succumbed to panic-driven, science-free claims by people with an agenda to push for more government funding into their fields of work. And he wants to use those panics to call for government censorship. The field of mental health is not served well by giving megaphones to popular figures who confuse a problem's symptoms with its root causes, and who want the government to impose controls on everyone, whether or not they're addicts.

NEXT: Jeff Flake Reveals Death Threats, Says a Democratic President Would Be Better Than Trump

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  1. In other news about the royals, what’s more disgusting–Prince Charles dignifying Cuba as a travel destination by posing in front of images of Che Guevara or the communist government of Cuba kowtowing to royalty while average Cubans continue to suffer the ravages of communism?

    1. Man that IS weird. What possible benefit does Cuba bring to the UK, a place to begin bringing the colonies back under control? Are they going to make the Commonwealth a dues-paying club open to all?

      1. the Commonwealth a dues-paying club open to all?

        That was kind of the UK’s business model until they became entangled with Ireland.

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    2. Why wouldn’t monarchs and commies get along? Yeah I know the killing of royalty was always a big commie thing but if you put that aside they really are the same, a small elite group extracting wealth from the populous.

      1. Correct. The Proletariat are the enemy of both Royalty and Bolsheviks.

      2. Considering Cuba, like North Korea has evolved into a hereditary dictatorship.

      3. I don’t understand how you Americans can pretend that you’re special because you don’t have a monarchy, when you’ve invested your Presidents with the literal power of Emperors.

        Poor old Lizzy has almost no practicable authority, but Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump had an incredible amount of imperial authority.

      4. “…Yeah I know the killing of royalty was always a big commie thing…”

        So was random mass murder, so it doesn’t matter.

      5. The commies are the extreme Left wing and monarchs are the extreme Right wing. Both authoritarian assholles who try and destroy the centrist Libertarians and classical liberals who value liberty and freedoms.

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  2. They just need to go through with Brexit and then proclaim liberty like their little brother did 250 years ago. Then they can join us in NAFO – Freedom Org. #ukindoit

    1. I mean, it’s not like Great Britain is diving into unknown waters. They’ve been independent before. For centuries. I somehow suspect they can manage without a constant influx of rules from Brussels.

  3. I try to avoid the Royals as much as possible, but Fark links to them too often to avoid entirely, same with the Kardashians.

    Charles fancies himself an architecture critic. The older brother, William, seems a pretty solid boring prince who does his job. Harry seems to be desperate to get out from under William’s shadow — seemed like he was shopping madly for a pretty bride, and settled on the actress. Now what’s he trying to do, get on Charles’ good side so he can make a up a pretense relevancy before Charles dies and big brother gets all the glory?

    Damn glad we got rid of them. Wish we weren’t working on the Chelsea and Bush twin replacements.

    1. Americans have the best of both worlds – British royals provide entertainment, but Americans aren’t taxed for it. So certain women have a safe outlet for their princess fantasies.

  4. What is so hard about proclaiming something to be bad and arguing that certain things are terrible influences and then just saying that society should just work to do better and encourage different behavior? Why do they always go straight to asking the government to forcibly change said behavior?

    1. Well, when you go through a couple of decades of government ran public education that teaches only governments can solve all the world’s ills, the only answer you can come up with is…more government.

      1. It’s not a coincidence that this huge government push in the US takes place a few generations after government totally took over schooling.

  5. We should have hung the guy that invented pong.

  6. I blame Fortnite for all those kids with their creepy blank stares doing that Floss dance thing.

  7. Why the Brits — or anyone else, for that matter — continue to listen to a bunch of wealthy, useless, inbred German layabouts with zero political power is beyond me.

  8. Get with the program, Prince Harry, Fortnite is five fucking minutes ago. It’s all Apex Legends now.

  9. Fortnite has guns, grenades, rocket launchers, and building ramshackle structures without the requisite permits. How is this game even legal in the UK?

    1. Kids in the UK have to be shown what America is like.

  10. inbred idiots and I would rather be dead than red on the head like a dick of a dog

  11. Funny I m reading this article on my phone and now all the ads around it are about fortnite packs. IT IS EVIL.

  12. I mean… to be fair… he’s kind of right. Not that it should be banned, but that Fortnite IS designed primarily to addict small children to an activity that is indistinguishable from gambling. I certainly wouldn’t let my children play it. That’s a different argument entirely from whether it should be banned or not though.

    1. Whatever it might or might not be, its up to parents to decide what their kids do .

  13. Prime Minister May should handle this situation with poor customer service. A government shutdown is confrontational enough to create a backlash. It’s less risky to tell every university accepting tax dollars that the check is in the mail until Briexit gets passed.

  14. “The citizens voted in favor of Brexit?of ending the country’s membership in the European Union. Their political leaders, especially Prime Minister , have not been able to come to a consensus on how to actually navigate leavingtold the peasants to go fuck themselves and their democracy too”


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  16. Why is this royal twat’s opinion the subject of any article ever?

  17. Rather dim; playboy Harry was far more interesting.

  18. Fuck the Royal scumbags.

    There is a reason why we kicked the British out of the United States 236 years ago.

  19. You won’t find it in a search, since no one is willing to headline a story “Brit Royal Family Dumber Than the Average Rock”, but you’re also not going to find any stories regarding their intelligence at all; the dog that didn’t bark.
    Suffice to say that if someone had married Billy Carter, or for that matter Tony, the average intelligence of the lot would have shown improvement.

  20. Reason is grasping for content when Royals are featured. The headline is fit for readers of National Enquirer.

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