What Is Fortnite, And Why Won’t My Kid Shut Up About It?

A helpful Q&A for clueless parents.

Good morning, everyone. I’m glad to see such a healthy turnout. You’re here for the same reason I am: Your child won’t stop playing Fortnite, talking about Fortnite, and watching other people play Fortnite.

You’re confused.

You’re scared.

Samesies. We’ll get through this together.

Yes, hello. What is Fortnite?

Great question. Perfect way to start.

Fortnite is a video game. If your child has a Playstation 4, Xbox One, or PC, they can download the game for free and start playing. It’s also coming soon to mobile for some reason.

The game has overtaken Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and is the current frontrunner in the emerging battle royale genre.

Battle Royale? Do you mean Hunger Games?

Get out of my classroom. Go on. Sit in the hallway for 5 minutes and think about what you did.

If you’re familiar with Battle Royale or The Hunger Games, then the game’s premise will make sense to you. 100 gamers skydive onto an island, armed with only a pickaxe. They have to search the island for weapons, armor, and materials. They will also encounter and try to eliminate opponents along the way. The only way to win is to be the last person or team standing. Everyone else loses.

Oh, okay. So it’s like PUBG. Wait wait WAIT. Just a few months ago, PUBG could not be stopped. Why is this game suddenly more popular?

I’m not a doctor, but here are some reasons.

  1. It’s free. PUBG is not.
  2. It’s on PS4. PUBG is not.
  3. It’s colorful. The Fortnite world is fun to explore, and the lighthearted look is a nice respite from the brutality that comes with a battle royale game.
  4. It has personality. Fortnite is goofy. There are a ton of strange costumes, emotes, and landmarks on the island.
  5. The developer is good. Epic Games created Fortnite, and they’re currently doing a lot of things well. They released the game for free and are now printing money because players can buy cosmetic items like costumes, pickaxes, and emotes. This seems to be the right way to cash in on the “games as a service” model, as opposed to the evil, greedy loot box fiasco that was Star Wars: Battlefront II.
  6. It’s #1 on Twitch. Speaking of cashing in, streamers all over the world are playing Fortnite. The most popular streamer, a guy known as Ninja, routinely pulls in close to 100,000 live viewers and is currently making well over $500,000 a month (not a typo) simply by broadcasting his Fortnite gameplay sessions. He’s also very good at the game, which helps.
  7. You can build. This was a new wrinkle Epic brought to the battle royale genre. Players can gather wood and brick and metal to build fortifications or gain the high ground. People initially whined about the feature, but now it’s universally beloved. It adds a layer of creativity and skill that goes beyond firing a weapon.

Hang on. This is finally making sense. I just saw an $8 charge in my bank statement from Twitch. I asked my kid about it, and he said “Ninja had a sick no scope to win the game so Dylann and I grabbed your credit card and donated.”

Yeah, he was watching Ninja play Fortnite on Twitch. He probably did something like this.

THAT LITTLE PUNK. He’s gonna pay when I get home. Man, I can’t believe my kid watches other people play video games. It’s so stupid.

Let me stop you right there, chief. I can’t help but notice you’re wearing a Denver Broncos hat. During NFL Sunday, exactly how many hours do you park your dumpster in front of the flatscreen and watch roided up manbeasts give each other head trauma?

Thought so. Now that we’re on the topic, here’s your key takeaway:

Hey, parents? Maybe, I don’t know, take an interest in what your kids love?

Watch them play Fortnite. Watch streamers play Fortnite. LEARN TO PLAY FORTNITE YOURSELF. It’s great fun and it will bring you closer together.

Stop creeping on them from the other room and wondering what on earth they’re up to. What is this, a research study?

It is not. It’s parenting. Get in there and be curious about your cool kids.