Fortnite has taken the video-gaming community by storm; the phenomenon could be taking down some marriages, too

An uptick in the number of spouses who looked into divorce and cited Fortnite — a free-to-play video game that enables up to 100 people to simultaneously battle to the end — as the reason for their inquiries has been identified by an online divorce service-provider in the United Kingdom.

Jessica Woll, managing partner of Woll & Woll, P.C., a divorce and family law firm specializing in child-centric divorce? matters and complex family law issues, is not surprised by these findings.

“The people who are entrenched at that level and are spending too much time online playing video games like Fortnite are really battling an addiction — not much different than an addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling,” Woll said. “They just can’t stop it.  Like other addictions, there’s not an easy fix.”

The developer of Fortnite, Epic Games, reported that there are more than 125 million registered Fortnite players around the world, and about 40 million people play each month.

While this particular video game has not been an issue with Woll’s clients, the complaint of “too much time online” can be attributed to about 10 percent of divorce cases in her practice. Woll has found that money can also be a draw to online video gaming as collective players can regularly compete for large cash prizes, but many times, the reason goes deeper than just the “loss of time and attention,” often named as a factor in the breakdown of the marriage.

“It’s not just the time spent gaming itself,” Woll explained. “Clients have revealed that their spouses met someone online — not only through the obvious social media channels and chat rooms — but also through virtual gaming, as players often have to form duos or teams to compete.”

Woll doesn’t see this trend dying down anytime soon, as the popularity of Fortnite, online video gaming and social media have become part of the fabric of everyday life.

“Spending excessive time online isn’t an issue that will go away; sometimes, though, it may be the catalyst that brings to light just how troubled the marriage was in the first place,” Woll said.

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