As Fortnite starts to resemble a new kind of social network, it’s eating into the time that players spend with other social media–and other forms of entertainment for that matter. A survey by National Research Group says weekly Fortnite players now spend 21% of their free time with the game, and spend 3% less time on social media, which now accounts for 16% of players’ free time.
Beyond just being an enjoyable first-person shooter, Fortnite just makes players feel better compared to social media. Survey respondents said the game was more likely to help them forget about real-life problems, express themselves without fear of bullying, act on feelings they can’t in everyday life, and increase their self-confidence.
Players also said the game makes them feel like they’re not alone and helps them cope with stress. (One counterpoint not mentioned in the survey: Some Fortnite players say they feel pressure to spend money on costumes and other cosmetic items to avoid being harassed in the game.)
Despite all the good feelings, Fortnite still has some catching up to do with social media in terms of usage, at least for older crowds. Among kids ages 10-12, 53% reported playing Fortnite at least once a week, versus 38% for both Facebook and Instagram, but social networking is far more popular among other age groups. Among kids 13-17, Instagram was used weekly by 64%, and Facebook was used weekly by 53%, versus 33% for Fortnite. The 18-24 age group reported 64% weekly Instagram use, 58% weekly Facebook use, and just 19% weekly Fortnite play.