Fortnite needs to be more addictive
The Fortnite dance is a legit cultural phenom. Just google it. Even the Houston Astros’ celebratory dance is a Fortnite Dance. My favourite is where professional dancers try to mimic the Fortnite dances.
We’re being swept up in the craze that is Fortnite. Millions and millions of teenagers, adults, and celebrities, are happily hooked to this online video game.
You and 99 other players jump out of a flying bus to parachute onto a candy-coloured island. From then on, it’s a cross between Minecraft and Hunger Games. You scavenge for weapons, build defences, and conquer your opponents. A fight to the death. Last one standing wins.
Only a few months ago, Drake, Travis Scott, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ninja live streamed their game on Twitch, making “video game history”, with a record 638,000 simultaneous views and 20 million subsequent views.
It's easy to see how you can get addicted to Fortnite. The game produces regular adrenaline hits each time your life is in danger - which, let's face it, is over and over again. And there are regular dopamine hits each time you survive and move on. And every time you die, you feel like, with a bit more luck, you would’ve survived. And so you keep coming back.
As a result, alarmist headlines all over the world scream, "Fortnite Addiction." Parents are having to re-negotiate screen time with their teenage children.
But it's hard to see how Fortnite won't go the way of other fads - Pokémon GO, Rubik's Cubes, and Tickle Me Elmo.
That's because humans, when faced with new situations, will have an initial surge in pleasure. A new girlfriend. A bonus. A new car. But, according to Jonathan Haidt, in The Happiness Hypothesis, we quickly recalibrate.
We become numb to the stimulus.
That means we will inevitably also adjust to the thrills of Fortnite. The adrenaline and dopamine hits will deliver ever-diminishing returns. And so we play it more and more, only to get sick of it more and more.
The Fortnite Dance will go the way of the Macarena.
This is the melancholy of human existence. We constantly crave something new. But the new quickly becomes old. Forcing us to keep looking for the next new thing. But also to heartlessly throw away what was once precious to us.
But why won't we get sick of Jesus like everything else? Because it’s more that he found us, than we found him. And Jesus promises to never get sick of us.
Jesus will be our Fortnite dance buddy, no matter how old it gets.