Fortnite is the most played game on Earth, nearly doubling the second most played game, World of Warcraft. It is also part of a select club of games that have a total playtime which exceeds the length of human existence.
Total Fortnite playtime and how it stacks up
According to GAME, Fortnite manages to have over 10 million years of total playtime, easily dwarfing the second place game, World of Warcraft which is nearing 6 million years, and all that with over a decade head start.
Another relative newcomer, Overwatch, takes third with 1.5 million years of playtime, after which the overall playtimes are much closer. The only purely single player games to have made the chart are The Withcer 3 (342,000 years), Fallout 4 (115,000 years), and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (90,000 years).
By comparison, how long have humans been on earth
Most humans have not had the luxury of playing Fortnite. Scientific estimates for when our species first appeared are around 300,000 years ago, making the Witcher 3 the only single player game to have more playtime than the existence of Homo sapiens on Earth.
However, the genus from which our species derives from, Homo, is believed to have appeared roughly 2.3 million years ago with the arrival of our ancestors, Homo habilis, making Fortnite and World of Warcraft the only two games with more playtime than our entire genus.
However, seeing as every other member of our genus has either gone extinct or been integrated into our genetic code, then we must go all the way back to our last common ancestor with another species.
This takes us all the way to the Hominini, roughly 6.3 million years ago when our species began its divergence from what would later become chimpanzees and bonobos. Because humans are the only surviving species from our half of that divergence, we can safely call this the point of the first true ancestor to all humans.
To that end, Fortnite is the only game to have made this achievement. At 10.4 million years old, Fortnite goes far enough to even surpass the estimated divergence of us, our cousin species, and gorillas, an event which occurred 8-10 million years ago.
What does this ultimately mean for Fortnite
When it comes to Fortnite, there are different ways we can interpret this data. Perhaps the most positive interpretation is that Epic has created an excellent game, one which inspires millions to play it each day, and made it freely accessible and widely available.
However, another interpretation is that Fortnite might be considered the single most addictive game in the world, and could be causing unseen damage.
However, this fatalistic interpretation removes significant agency on the part of players. Additionally, many Fortnite players are young, often school aged, with limited expendable cash, making them the prime demographic for a free game available on almost any platform.