Prince Harry 'was wrong' to call Fortnite addictive, developers say

19 June 2019, 21:50 | Updated: 19 June 2019, 22:27

The makers of Fortnite have rejected Prince Harry's comments about the popular game being "created to addict" its players. 

Canon Pence, general counsel for Fortnite developers Epic Games, said the company was "taken aback" by the Duke of Sussex's criticisms made earlier this year.

Answering questions from a Commons committee on Wednesday about immersive and addictive technologies, Mr Pence added that the comments "couldn't be further from the truth".

He said: "It's really always been our effort and intent to create a fun, fair, flexible, engaging and generous form of interactive entertainment for our audience."

"And so I feel like a statement that suggests that there was some sort of nefarious attempt to extract short-term profit is a real mischaracterisation."

Committee chairman Damian Collins then asked Mr Pence if he believed Prince Harry was wrong, or had misunderstood the game, to which he agreed.

Prince Harry called for the battle royale game to be banned back in April, saying it "shouldn't be allowed" as it was created "to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible".

Speaking about mental health during a visit to the YMCA in South Ealing, he said: "Social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol, and it's more dangerous because it's normalised and there are no restrictions to it."

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts (EA) representatives were also questioned about addition at the Commons committee on Wednesday.

Kerry Hopkins, EA's vice president for legal and government affairs, said the World Health Organisation's decision to classify gaming disorder as a disease was different to addiction.

She highlighted that it was a "new designation" that meant "far more than playing a lot", and was one "that the industry does have responsibility to follow".

Among previous evidence heard by the Commons committee, one gamer said they had played for 32 hours straight without eating or sleeping.