Fortnite—a popular video game which amassed 200 million players in November 2018—“shouldn’t be allowed” in the UK, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, said Thursday.

The British royal’s comments reignited controversy around video gaming’s health impacts.

Discussing mental health at a YMCA event, Harry said Fortnite was “created to addict, [and] keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible.” He suggested Fortnite’s makers were “irresponsible.”

Some studies into video games’ effect concluded gaming enhances cognitive abilities; others claim it fosters aggressive behaviour.

Video games could simply reflect the anxious, addictive or obsessive tendencies of individuals—serving as escape mechanisms for those already struggling.

With 5% of recent British divorces citing Fortnite as a source of discord, gaming is an impactful pastime.

Fortnite grossed a record-breaking $2.4 billion in 2018, and Britain’s gaming market is now worth £5.7 billion, more than the UK’s film and music industries combined.

Is excessive gaming a public health concern? Or does calling it a “mental health disorder”—as the WHO did in 2018—only stigmatise a widespread hobby?

Should video games be regulated—particularly those targeting younger audiences? And if so, by whom?

     

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.