Fortnite dies starting November 2019

That's how addicted Mallorca is to the video game Fortnite

For Ángel (14), Pau (13), Joan (14), Jairo (15), and Guiem (13) the whole thing is just a game, albeit a particularly good one. The friends from the village of Sencelles, northeast of Palma, jump from a flying US school bus over a virtual island several times a week. Using a rocket-propelled paraglider, they head for one of the 21 differently designed regions, either forest areas, swamp regions or cities. Then you have to collect wood and metal in order to be able to build a fortress. And of course weapons have to be found. Because just with the pickaxe, which is part of the basic equipment and with which you can cut pretty much anything short and sweet to collect raw materials, traps or weapons, you will not survive the next 20 minutes. Time is of the essence, you are in the eye of a deadly storm that is getting smaller and smaller. In addition, 99 other players landed on the island and only want one thing: to kill each other in order to leave the battlefield with a dance of joy as the victor.

The five boys from Sencelles are among the 125 million players who, according to the manufacturer Epic Games, have registered in the computer-animated world of Fortnite worldwide. The game is just over a year old. The first version - still in multiplayer mode against zombies - was released on July 25th, 2017, the current one - "Battle Royale" - on September 26th, 2017. And now everyone is playing: At least on Mallorca, there should hardly be a schoolchild that has not yet come into contact with it. "The children's interest in Fortnite is extreme," says the teacher at a private school in Palma. "Many are tired because they play secretly at night - this is now also noticeable in their grades."

Highly addictive

Not just boys, girls play Fortnite too. Many parents are concerned. "Little by little the game has crept into our house and has become a topic for the whole family," says Miquel Amorós, father of two boys who have since been more nervous than before. Around 300 parents attended an information event in October Fortnite from the Balearic University and the addiction aid Projecte Home. "It is well known that video games have a high potential for creating addiction," explains psychologist Azucena Hernández, "but Fortnite has a lot more to offer."

Fortnite Battle Royale is free and can be downloaded within a few seconds - to your mobile phone, PC, Mac, tablets, X-Box, Playstation or Nintendo Switch. Only later, when you want to buy weapons or clothes, do you have to pay. You could also say that you are seduced to consume: The packages with new characters, better weapons and other extras are available from 39.99 euros. The better you are equipped, the sooner the player stays alive - and can perform one of those victory dances that are danced after in many YouTube videos. A dance costs around two euros. In the group of five guys there is no one who has not yet bought anything, even if it is only clothing that does not bring any advantages in the game, but leads to identifying even more with his individualized figure.

Unusual color and tone design

"Another factor contributing to the addiction is that you are constantly being sent messages asking you to continue playing," says Azucena Hernández. If you play Fortnite on your mobile phone or tablet, push messages appear informing you which friends are currently online and waiting.

The game is also extraordinary in its color and tone design. “There is a lot of pink and purple, the environment looks cute, child-friendly, like a colorful comic. The manufacturer wants to generate a high level of attention with this. The guns are very loud, which adds to the game, "analyzes Azucena Hernández. In extreme contrast, there would be the brutal events, the killing of the opponents." There is no blood, but the message is clearly violent, "says Hermández .

Attention and excitement are increased by the fact that Fortnite Battle Royale is played in real time. "Anyone who takes a break is dead. The player has to concentrate 100 percent." And ultimately, winning is also dependent, according to the psychologist. "Whoever survives last is the best. In the real world, you can't do that just experience. " Although one can have a sense of achievement in football on the sports field, they are much more difficult to achieve than in the world of Fortnite, where endorphins chase through the body every second.

Suddenly an enemy appears

How the emotions boil can be observed when the five friends play together: suddenly an opponent appears who opens fire. At the same moment, Guiem pulls up a wall to protect himself. Then he constructs a staircase, runs up it and kills the attacker while jumping down with a submachine gun. The boys are cheering, even if another opponent kills Guiem's ​​figure a few seconds later.

If you ask them who the best player in the world is, everyone shouts: “Ninja!” And almost slips off their chairs in excitement. Ninja, under this pseudonym 27-year-old Tyler Blevins from Grayslake, Illinois, lures himself into the US Fortnite universe. Almost 20 million fans follow him on Youtube, in November 3.7 million people have watched his videos so far. According to the US magazine "The New Yorker" Blevins earns more than just with his Fortnite live streams half a million dollars a month. “For young people, these are stars like soccer players. They are role models that they emulate, "says Azucena Hernández.

What the psychologist advises

The psychologist cannot say very much about the game. Yes, it is creative how you can get yourself out of a danger zone within seconds by building walls and stairs. Team play is also good and that you can help an injured character - although hardly anyone does that because it takes too long. Despite the recommended age of "12+", even six-year-olds often play Fortnite. "I keep an eye on my daughter and check her gaming behavior. If I didn't, I wouldn't know what would happen," says the mother of a ten-year-old from Binissalem.

Azucena Hernández advises parents to sign a contract with the children about how long they can play Fortnite. And: A game console belongs in the living room, where you have to share the television. She wouldn't ban the game even if she could. Neither can smartphones be banned. "You have to learn to deal with it responsibly," she says.

Help for parents: