Internet Reacts To Prince Harry Calling For Fortnite Ban

Internet Reacts To Prince Harry Calling For Fortnite Ban
Image: Epic Games

Outside of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry is probably the highest profile member of the British royal family. He’s also now probably the most hated member of the sovereign entourage, after the internet began dissecting his call for Fortnite to be banned.

Prince Harry made the comments during a YMCA event in west London this week. As reported by the BBC, the Duke of Sussex put social media on blast as well as Fortnite, saying social media was “more addictive than alcohol and drugs”.

As for Fortnite, Prince Harry questioned why anyone was allowed to play the game at all:

That game shouldn’t be allowed. Where is the benefit of having it in your household? 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.

Prince Harry has done a lot of charity work around mental health, both amongst youth and within the military, so it’s understandable that anything potentially affecting that would concern him. But good intentions are not enough, and the internet has been particularly savage this morning – especially given his comments around social media following the launch of his and Meghan Markle’s official Instagram account this week. (The @sussexroyal account originally belonged to a Reading FC fan, but Instagram decided to change his handle without telling him.)

Even Australian breakfast TV – which hasn’t been a fan of Fortnite or video games in the past – noted that Prince Harry might have a different tune once he becomes a parent (his first child is due in a few weeks).

Others on social media also noted that they’d take their parenting advice from someone who hasn’t casually dressed as a Nazi.


  • Eh, being honest, he isn’t wrong. It IS created to be addictive, thats how they make money from a game that is tentatively free to play.

    • Fortnite was not created to be addictive, it was created to be fun.

      Candy Crush and Pokie Machines ARE designed to be addictive.

      • Well I think the game is designed to have addictive qualities but he’s taken the extreme angle of outright blame.

        It’s on us to teach our kids a balance, to understand their interests and ensure they learn moderation, how these games use their micro transactions and that it isn’t something to throw all their money and time at.

        • Problem for me is that once you start calling this addiction, its something you can throw at just about every successful game. They are designed to be fun, and to get people playing to the end. How many games have you wanted to play for ‘just one more turn’?

          It happens so much its a meme, but by the mentality shown here. every one of those games is an addiction that needs to be eradicated.

          • Addiction is probably the wrong word, but it is manipulative. Fortnite has no end – it’s “games as a service” at its best (worst?) right now. It’s sucking people in and keeping them playing in the hope they’ll spend big on micro transactions. You could level a similar argument at subscription MMOs though at least the fee is consistent.

            I can play a long session of Civ for just one more turn, but it isn’t splashing a screen with “One more turn only 23 CivBucks! Buy 500 CivBucks for $20!” There’s a difference between playing a lot of something for fun, and being manipulated by that ‘fun’ to pay more in micro transactions.

          • Yeah, there are definitely bad parts to Fortnite, don’t get me wrong, I’m just saying that its a slippery slope once you start calling the fun parts an addiction.

            Fortnite has its issues, but a) its free, and b) its entitled to make money. If not through microtransactions, how? It wouldn’t matter what those transactiosn were, people would complain anyway simply because of how big the game is. On a per head basis I doubt its noticeably higher spending than most other successful free games.

            We all hear stories, but if there are 40 million Fortnite players, and its making $40m a month, that’s $1 a month per player. Is that bad? I was paying $30 a month to have access to Sony’s MMO range for a decade.

            He’s not talking about that though, just the amount of time kids play the game and the replayability loop in general. Which isn’t any different to so many other games, and notably, those ‘just one more turn’ games we’ve all played over the years.

            I worry that going down that path spreads very easily to almost all gaming. I think it also hides other more important reasons it happens, like how our society has changed, how parenting has changed, and how technology has changed in general. Things that are very hard to undo, and quite probably not a good idea to undo anyway.

            Its a discussion worth having though, just not through the addiction filter which has the stigma of bringing up images of gambling or drugs. Its not addiction, its entertainment and to conflate the two is a bad move. Most forms of successful entertainment are designed so you come back for more. How many people are holding out for GoT for example? Is that addiction?

          • Addiction is probably the wrong word, but it is manipulative. Fortnite has no end – it’s “games as a service” at its best (worst?) right now.

            You could say the same about any sport or multiplayer game – the match ends but the game is still there, ready to start another match.

            It isn’t splashing a screen with “One more turn only 23 CivBucks!

            This isn’t really true for Fortnite either… You can play for free as long as you like. As for skins, again how is that any different to most sports where shops like Rebel push for you to buy the flashiest equipment? Or even different to pretty much everything; you’re constantly pushed to upgrade to the latest phone, pushed to buy the latest fashion, pushed to subscribe to multiple streaming services and watch the latest hype show, etc.
            Basically, welcome to capitalism.

            Edit: formatting fail, thought I was on Reddit for a second

      • It is created to be fun, true, but much as casinos strategically plan the way they operate to encourage players to stick around and spend money for as long as possible, Fortnite utilises certain tactics to encourage a wide demographic of people to play and spend money. It’s deliberately designed to be not offputting for children (or more accurately parents of children deciding whether they can play or not). The skins are gender diverse, and to a point racially diverse, so no one feels out of place playing it. Every item drop is random, so takes out map memorisation of item locations as a barrier to entry to more traditional shooters, and also gives that little gambling rush whenever opening a chest or supply drop as to whether you’ll get a great item or not. And there’s the whole genius idea of making the way you look they only benefit to spending actual money in game – sure you can play without spending any money, but people like to fit in, and being looked upon as a “default” skin isn’t a great feeling. Certain skins are only available via the Battle Pass and then variants thereof with even further requirements, so wearing a given skin becomes a badge of honour and other players familiar enough with the game will know instantly what you had to do to get it.

        As you can probably tell, I like the game, but it’s also a brilliantly conceived and marketed concept – it’s taken the foundation built by Minecraft and taken it to the next level.

        • also gives that little gambling rush whenever opening a chest or supply drop as to whether you’ll get a great item or notI dunno if I agree with that. With gambling you usually have to wager something with the risk of getting nothing at all. Opening a chest is critical to the game, you always get something out of it and if you don’t open one then you’re screwed. Maybe if you had to sacrifice one of your weapons to open one or something.

          And personally I love how everyone would go “ugh, we’ve got a default on our team”, it’s hilarious 😛 Especially in the matches where I end up doing better than they did…

      • That’s what people like to tell themselves.

        Fortnite is a masterclass in Operant Conditioning, and how that initial rewards create a reward pathway, followed by a lack of ability to gauge subsequent rewards, leading to behaviours that increase the chance of reward, whether that be playing excessively, or reaching for the credit card.

        Add in social pressures of tweens around appearance and resource, and the damn thing is terrifying.

        • Inability to gauge subsequent rewards has nothing to do with operant conditioning, and it needs to be made clear that operant conditioning is not a bad thing. It’s simply the mechanism of optimal path learning; the mechanism by which almost all discovery learning occurs, since almost all such learning involves consequence. Most video games – and games in general – make use of operant conditioning as a means of reinforcing successful behaviour and discouraging unsuccessful behaviour. Dark Souls is a much more emphatic example of operant conditioning in video games than Fortnite.

          There are undoubtedly objectionable elements to Fortnite’s systems, but let’s be careful not to demonise common psychological mechanisms. Operant conditioning has thousands of benign uses.

          • My apologies, I should have made it clear that the masterclass I was talking about with OC was in regards to the creation of the initial pathway so rapidly, which allows Epic to then mess with expected reward pathways, creating dependence peaks and withdrawal troughs.

          • Sure, fair enough. I’m perhaps a little defensive of psychology terms being used without qualification because there’s often a knee-jerk reaction that ends up along the lines of “Operant conditioning? Sounds like some kind of unethical mind control, and this video game is using it? How dare they!” and then you end up with people having this strange hostility to pretty fundamental thought patterns. I wasn’t really taking aim at you, more I suppose trying to head off potential overreaction.

  • Prince Harry is a man of discerning taste. I think Fortnite should be banned too, but that’s because it’s a blight on gaming.

    • I put it down to him being part of the monarchy. Different set of social rules/expectations to regular society

  • I think we should ban food too. What is the benefit of having food in your household? It was created to get you addicted and now you can’t survive without it. The only people benefiting from our addiction to food are the supermarkets and restaurants. I’ve seen food put family at odds with each other as the kids want chips and the parents want vegetables. It’s used like a weapon with kids getting sent to bed without dessert.

    It’s like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down.

  • Meanwhile he and the missus have just created a joint instagram. Arguably social media is more addictive and leads to more anxiety and bullying.

  • As a semi-political, but (to some) important public figure, I think he should be spending his princely time on more important issues.

    I obviously can’t speak for him, but I think his born royalty status may have convinced him that his opinion on the potential harm of a particular video game (sensible or not) should be taken seriously. The fact that a games journalism outlet is reporting on said opinion doesn’t help.

    He really should’ve prefaced the entire statement with “It’s my feeling that…..”

    • While the video was eventually good, why did I have to sit through 8 minutes of obnoxious edited nonsense to get to the meat?

      I played Fortnite Battle Royale in the first few days of its release, and I did indeed have fun. It was shocking to me to see the systems introduced since then. You can’t select your default look anymore? Really?

      • It was an April Fools’ video so the first 8 minutes are selling the joke. The fact that it’s then an actual video about emotional manipulation in Fortnite is why it’s a quality channel.

  • But didn’t Harry go and fight some poorly equipped villagers in Afghanistan from the comfort of his attack helicopter so that British children could enjoy these very freedoms? Sounds almost like a Taliban-esque approach to cultural censorship.

    James Hewitt should pull his kid into line.

  • So many butthurt reactions to this.

    Games are addictive. Doesn’t matter if they are designed to be so or not. The fact is THEY ARE, and yeah, it’s damaging sometimes.

    My ex-husband was addicted to WoW in it’s early days (you know, when that game was actually cool). It took a three-month stint of having no access to internet to break the habit. You would have thought he was on coming down off a drug addiction considering his abhorrent behaviour for a while. Fortunately he recognised it for what it was and never went back to playing full-time again, but yes, it was detrimental to our relationship. You can’t say that game was designed to be addictive, but it is. I mean, we’ve seen people physically harm others over stuff that happens in games.

    I see his point. Sadly the problem is parents and guardians who are either unwilling or unable to give their kids any kind of mental stimulation other than popping them in front of a console for hours on end.

    • Games are addictive. Doesn’t matter if they are designed to be so or not. The fact is THEY ARE, and yeah, it’s damaging sometimes.

      If you expand the definition of addiction to that extent, almost anything is addictive. Driving, sports, even sex.
      The real fact is that anything (when used to the detriment of other aspects of life) can be damaging. That doesn’t mean everything fun should be banned, just that people nees to learn moderation.

      • Well you can be ‘addicted’ to said things – which result in a major impact on normal functioning. Addiction in that sense isn’t limited to drugs and alcohol.

  • If not Fortnite it would be a different game that kids are addicted to. Clearly we just need to ban all games.

  • Is Harry really second most high profile though? He’s currently sixth in line to the throne, and isn’t the only one with a public profile. The news might be focused on him due to the fact his child will be born soon, but that profile isn’t necessarily going to continue.

  • Are people seriously that thick!.. This bloke has every bloody professional in the entire world at his disposal to make an informed comment, on anything he wants to speak about, and would seek council to get his facts right, before he does speak!.. wise up people, he isn’t just speaking common language, he speaks of education, knowledge and informed facts!

  • Actually I completely agree with Harry. The game is designed to be addictive. If it’s purely for fun as some say, then Epic should make all of its micro transaction or battle passes whatever you call them free for everybody, make it a non-profit game. IMO China does it right when it comes to these online games, or, even gaming in general. Require people to have a gaming ID, and depending on their age restrict their game time. Hopefully Western governments will seek to make similar moves in the future

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