It’s no secret that the phenomenally popular video game Fortnite is addicting for gamers of all ages and backgrounds.
Just how addicting? Apparently enough to be banned from playing by an entire NHL team for a whole season.
It was recently revealed that the Vancouver Canucks were banned from playing the popular video game for the new 2018-2019 National Hockey League season.
The Fortnite ban faced by the Vancouver Canucks has drawn mixed reactions so far in the NHL
According to Winnipeg Jets star Patrik Laine, the team’s management needed a scapegoat of sorts after Vancouver’s lackluster 31-40-11 record the previous season.
‘I think they just needed something to blame after last year, we kind of made a deal if we’re playing like that, we can give up our PlayStations so we’re not going to take them on the road. But I don’t think that’s going to happen,’ he said.
Canucks forward Jake Virtanen, when asked about Laine’s comment, dismissed them and said he believes Fortnite hasn’t hampered the team’s play on the ice, saying: ‘Whatever. I don’t really care what he says.’
He added: ‘I just think that where we want to go with our team, anything we can do to get better, that’s a stepping stone. You can only go up from last year. … We want to be focused all the time when we come to the rink but have fun at the same time. But it’s all business here.’
Vancouver’s head coach Travis Green stated that the decision to ban Fortnite came not from him, but rather from the players themselves.
‘My kid plays Fortnite. And I have not banned it from him and I’m not banning it from anyone on our team, he said.
Still, many NHL players have also dismissed criticism that video games like Fortnite have caused their performance on the ice to suffer. They note that they’ve often played other video games like Call of Duty and are perplexed by the backlash against Fortnite that’s resulted in the Canucks’s ban.
According to Winnipeg Jets player and Fortnite fan Nikolaj Ehlers: ‘It’s a PlayStation game. Our jobs are to play hockey and we need to be prepared to do that every single day. We know what we need to do to get ready for a hockey game and it’s not playing Fortnite till 2am.’
Zach Hyman of the Toronto Maple Leafs also brushed aside concerns that Fortnite hampered players’ ability on the ice.
‘I don’t think Fortnite’s the problem. I think that you can get addicted to anything. If you’re sitting there playing Fortnite for 12 hours a day it’s probably not the best thing for you, but if you play it like a normal person – one or two hours a day – then you’re fine. … If you’re going out all night (partying), you’re addicted to going out. That’s not good either,’ he said.
Though Hyman said he didn’t believe a Fortnite ban would be implemented in Toronto, defenseman Jake Gardiner wasn’t as sure as his teammate, even expressing some degree of support for the idea of a Fortnite ban.
‘I wouldn’t mind (a ban) either. Video games get out of control. You’re on the road to spend time with teammates,’ he said.
Fortnite, since being introduced in July 2017, boasts a player base of about 125 million people
Other teams apparently aren’t planning any Fortnite restrictions anytime soon.
‘Some of us like to play it quite a bit on this team, but we’re never on too late or too long. I can’t even explain how addicting it’s become. It’s just grown worldwide and half our team plays now so it’s a good topic in the morning,’ said Ottawa Senators forward Colin White.
Amidst all the fallout from the ban, some players have simply expressed a desire to focus on hockey rather than video games.
Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames said he as far more focused on his debut NHL season than any video games at the moment.
“I think if you’re addicted to that, maybe you should be a pro gamer instead of a pro hockey player. So I don’t really know what’s going on,’ he said.
What is Fortnite?
Fortnite is a free-to-play action-shooter video game both developed and published by Epic Games.
Currently boasting a player base of around 125 million people worldwide, the game was introduced in July 2017 but didn’t really take off until its popular battle royale mode was added in September 2017. The video game mode sees 100 players battle it out in ‘last man standing’ matches that mix shooter gameplay with survival and fort building elements.
The game’s widespread popularity has notably translated into major monetary gains for its developer Epic Games, which is now believed to have a valuation of up to $8 billion (£6.1b).
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