Sunrise Takes Another Swipe At Fortnite And Video Games

fortnite world cup media sunriseImage: Riley MacLeod (Kotaku)

Over the weekend, Epic's gargantuan $43 million Fortnite World Cup came and went. It was a huge occasion for the free-to-play game that sprouted out of nowhere to completely dominate the mainstream conversation about video games. And even though the headline figures were enough to make mainstream Australian media pay attention, they still couldn't help doing so without completely disparaging the contestants involved.

Channel Seven's Weekend Sunrise touched on the World Cup on Saturday, going through the usual motions you'd expect from a breakfast TV cross — an introduction of the format, the money on offer, how many Australians were involved. The show then crossed to Byteside editor and Kotaku alumni Seamus Byrne in New York, where one of the presenters questioned the social skills and behaviour of gamers.

"I have to ask the question, when you hear about what a lot of these gamers' lives are like, where they don't leave the house, they're not interested in anything else except for playing, almost 24/7, what is the money worth to you if you're not leaving the house, if you don't know how to relate to people," presenter Monique Wright asked in the video below.

Byrne admirably noted that many of the competitors were part of professional teams and were supported with nutritionists, psychologists and other coaching systems akin to normal sporting teams. "They have to work at so many different aspects of how to be the best — a lot of them are really well media trained, too," Byrne said.

Despite Byrne's attempt at providing some balance, the presenters couldn't help but take a final swipe at the idea of games after the cross ended. "I've got a real problem with these shoot-em-up video games," Wright said, while co-host Basil Zempilas said he never liked the idea of people being inside for too long.

Neither presenter seems to have been made aware of the fact that the average age of the Australian gamer has been over 30 for the majority of this decade. Or that most parents play video games with their kids, and that more older Australians are turning to video games as a way to stay connected to friends and family, the same way kids use video games as a social space.

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Perhaps the best line was from Byrne, who wrote in the Byteside tech newsletter that you couldn't really succeed in esports and video games these days without the support of others — an anathema to the anti-social, shut-in stereotype perpetuated on Sunrise.

"I never want to see kids chasing video game dreams if they don’t have the gift to be great," Byrne wrote. "But it takes supportive families around them to find out if the talent is there to be nurtured into becoming one of the best."


    At this point, you have to start questioning if it’s worth giving Sunrise this kind of news coverage, especially when they disparage video games all the time.

    "really well media trained, too"... maybe he can get some training for Sunrise staff.

    Having an onscreen segment about a subject they clearly have not been briefed or primed on to avoid using such bias "stereotypes" is alarming.

    Yet if you were to say 170 Million have been tuning into these major events with Billions of dollars flooding into this market. They would think you are talking about a sports game like the NRL, AFL, NFL or whatever and then get shocked to hear its Esports with people playing video games. Just makes me laugh, even harder when a major league event does overtake viewership from a grand final sporting event.

    Seriously, who watches those morning shows?!
    It's like a handful of people talking about subjects they have no knowledge or experience of before crossing over to an old British woman flogging a mattress.

      Yeash, I don't really see why people would be upset that the people who present to doped out people in retirement homes and bored housewives (or husbands!) don't have respect for professional eSports.

      Baby-Boomers who all are heavily swayed in terms of how they vote. Bagging out on video games is just another in the tiny little jibes that they stick to young people. On its own it's easy to ignore, but put them all together and it creates both a stereotype that they're likely to project onto "the kids" in a defined "us VS them" mentality in the mind of older people where they'll start to instantly dismiss any opinions young people may have

    As much as I hate Fortnite and other similar games, the media really has to give it a rest. What is wrong with people enjoying what they do and earning money while they do it? I guess they could just host a sad morning show and ask pre-scripted questions and run steam mop advertorials.

      When you're the back-up weekend guys to Kochie and some dickhead in a cow suit, I guess you gotta take any excuse to look down on someone, anyone.

      Last edited 29/07/19 2:49 pm

        Saddest part is that the guy in the cow suit is the fourth Hemsworth brother.

    These stories used to rile me, but at this point it's just expected and sad. Would be more news if AU TV ran a spot that wasn't disparaging honestly

    All it does is show how "out of touch" they all are.

    Love the "what would they do with their money if they sit inside all day", well probably not drink as much as the hosts to drown their failing careers and flaunt their own income over everyone in their viewing distance, gamers with that level of support and guidance and lifestyle balance are probably making better choices and investments into their futures instead of trying to blindly ignore the passage of time thats leaving these guys

    Seriously sick of this double standard and attack on video games - so much hatred for video games but its ok to be brain dead and stare at facebook and instagram is it? because that is so educational. Why is video games seen as so bad when movies and tv shows would be on the same level but they don't get called out? oh thats right, its cause its ok to be brain dead and stare at the tv for those... my bad. Don't want to use too much brain activity!

    Makes me appreciate the morning team on Mix radio in Adelaide a little more. They covered the story too, started with "Do your kids play Fortnite? No? well maybe it should be encouraged". They summed up that he won 3 mil US etc, and did some teasing about his gamertag "booger".

    They then compared it to other high profile sporting events like Wimbledon, US golf open etc and how the 3 mil prize for the winner beat all of them. That's when I was waiting for "and all he did was play a game"...but they never said it. Instead they qualified it with "and he came out first over 200 million players worldwide. Only the top 100 were in the final tournament but he had to win over 200 million players." They pretty much went on to justify the bigger prize compared to the odds he won out and how he was set for life now.

    Still not the same as the coverage you get in gaming news but it was definitely a step forward from the typical mainstream media approach.

    As someone who used to regularly deal with Basil Z, trust me when I say he shouldn’t throw shade about social skills.

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