A new online game taking Kiwi kids by storm has been labelled "irresponsibly addictive" and sparked fears it could encourage gambling.

About 40 million people worldwide have downloaded Fortnite, which has been compared to the cult teen film and book series The Hunger Games, since it launched late last year.

The concept of Fortnite is essentially survival of the fittest - players join a match of about 90 to 100 people and shoot at each other's characters using realistic-looking guns. The last person "alive" wins.

Trent Bostock, 15, plays online game Fortnite about two to three hours a day and makes about $250 a streaming session. Photo / Greg Bowker
Trent Bostock, 15, plays online game Fortnite about two to three hours a day and makes about $250 a streaming session. Photo / Greg Bowker
Trent Bostock is one of millions people around the world who play Fortnite. Photo / Greg Bowker
Trent Bostock is one of millions people around the world who play Fortnite. Photo / Greg Bowker

Players can also buy costumes, skins or dance moves for their characters using real money.

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Rapper Drake, Kiwi basketballer Steven Adams and internet mogul Kim Dotcom are also fans of the game.

But the game has also created its own stars. Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins, a 26-year-old American, reportedly makes up to $500,000 a month streaming his play online.

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Concerns about the game raised by parents in the UK prompted Britain's Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield to issue a stark warning that the game was "irresponsibly addictive".

The UK's National Crime Agency has also said paedophiles could be targeting young players through Fortnite's chat function that allows players to communicate during matches.

Auckland psychotherapist Daniel Harrison disagreed with claims the game itself was fuelling addiction, but said the online purchasing aspect of Fortnite was worrisome.

"That can be pretty dangerous. It's quite similar to gambling in a way - getting mum and dad's credit card [out] to do that stuff."

University of Waikato's Dr Gareth Schott, who has studied gaming for 15 years, said although Fortnite wasn't overly violent, children who played the game with strangers could be exposed to other inappropriate content.

"You can [listen to] other people's commentary so children playing it might be exposed to strong language as a result of that."

Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker was not concerned about Fortnite's popularity, saying although it was a compelling game the risk of addiction was no higher than with any other video game.

"I think most parents will probably be surprised at how unshocking most of what goes on [in Fortnite] is."

He recommended parents of children who wanted to play Fortnite supervise them for a match or two and have a discussion about the violent content, the other players and rules around chatting online.

Duane Mutu, operations manager of New Zealand e-sports broadcaster Let's Play Live, told the Herald on Sunday the fact Fortnite was free to download and classified as being suitable for most age groups had made it an attractive option for Kiwi gamers.

Although the aim was to kill off other players it didn't use blood or gore, Mutu said.

"It's not really hard and graphic."

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Auckland teenager Trent Bostock, is hooked.

The 15-year-old spends about two to three hours a day in Fortnite matches, which he films and broadcasts online. Other fans pay to subscribe to Trent's videos and he has earned $250 from streaming.

"There's a whole bunch of battle royale games out there but Fortnite is a lot different than the others because it has a building aspect to it. You're able to build walls, ramps. You can edit and make your objects all different to outplay your enemies essentially," he said.

Trent said it was the flexibility of the game and how it allowed users to be both creative and strategic that made it enjoyable.

Auckland mum-of-three Tarhlia Murray is also a Fortnite fan. She and her partner often play the game with their eldest child Latrell, 7, during weekends.

Murray told the Herald on Sunday while she understood why some parents wouldn't let their kids play Fortnite she and her partner had decided they were okay with Latrell playing it, although they restricted his game time to three hours a session, supervised him and did not let him talk to strangers on the game.

Tarhlia Murray (right) with partner James Kipa, daughter Nikau, son Latrell and daughter Hiria. Photo / Greg Bowker
Tarhlia Murray (right) with partner James Kipa, daughter Nikau, son Latrell and daughter Hiria. Photo / Greg Bowker