Launched just 11 months ago, Fortnite has already attracted 50 million players, many of them celebrities such as football stars and the rapper Drake.
Free to download on games consoles and mobile devices, but packed with pricey extras, Fortnite is meant for children 12 and above. Its cartoonish appearance means many parents regard it as innocuous. But in the popular Battle Royale version, 100 players are pitted against each other, creating superhero avatars for a fight to the death using weapons including crossbows, rifles and grenade launchers. It was developed by Epic Games, based in North Carolina, which claims the game encourages creativity and problem-solving. The company is 40 per cent owned by controversial Chinese conglomerate Tencent which earns £166million a month from Fortnite users, according to Fortune.com.
Last year Tencent was accused by China’s government of warping traditional values through addictive games which spread ‘negative energy’.Since its launch, Fortnite has been a sensation with stars such as England footballer Dele Alli, 22, who has incorporated moves inspired by the game into his goal celebrations.