Graphic by Lillie Busch
Since its release in 2017, the video game “Fortnite” has become a global phenomenon, with 250 million players worldwide and a profitable title, bringing in $1.2 billion dollars, and according to a recent study, the game is more popular in Mississippi than in any other state.
The research, gathered via Google Trends data, revealed the game’s popularity in Mississippi was at 61%. Other states where the game was most played include New Jersey, Illinois, Alabama and Georgia. Alaska is where it is least played, with just 41%.
A huge element of the game’s success is the battle royale mode, in which players are dropped into a huge environment to duke it out with each other until one person remains. The fact that this component is free to play has contributed to the game’s success.
Although 46% of “Fortnite” players are between the ages of 18 and 24, there is a huge portion of gamers who are below 18. Hattiesburg Gamestop employee Jackie Jerry asserts that the game’s popularity amongst kids is leading to more playground rivalries.
“If you don’t play it, you don’t have anything to talk about with the other kids… you don’t have anything to say. But if you do [play “Fortnite”], then they’ll think otherwise,” Jerry explained.
As for why it’s played more in Mississippi than in any other state, Hattiesburg GameStop employee Kit Switzer believes it has something to do with the state’s climate, especially during the summer.
“I think the reason it’s so popular in Mississippi is the weather and because it’s free,” Switzer said. “It’s always super hot, and as a result, kids don’t want to go outside.”
Despite its success, many people who fall within the game’s intended age demographic believe the game is overrated for varying reasons.
“A lot of titles have good hype and bad hype, and I guess you could say “Fortnite” has the bad hype,” freshman computer science major John Lumberg said. “The two reasons why are because it’s cartoony and the fans behind it. It’s also a pretty basic experience when compared to other games like ‘Player Unknown Battlegrounds.’”
Lumberg also said that many people who play the game are kids, and its popularity in Mississippi could be the result of parents and grandparents who want something readily available for their kids to play, since “Fortnite” is free to download.
Jerry and Switzer believe the big reason for the huge player base in Mississippi is because players are not required to sign up for an online service to play the game—all they need is an internet connection.