In Brief

Fortnite: parents hiring video game tutors for children

Coaches being paid up to $50 an hour to improve young players’ performances

Parents in the US are paying private tutors as much as $50 (£38) an hour to help their children get better at playing popular video game Fortnite, according to media reports.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) spoke to several families who have hired coaches specialising in the online game’s survivalist Battle Royale function - where around 100 players compete in a fight to the death, with just one winner. 

Many of the parents are “worried about their kids’ social standing with their classmates”, The Guardian reports, and some fear that their children “are being exorcised from social life because they can barely last a minute of gameplay without getting shot from behind”.

“There’s pressure not to just play it but to be really good at it. You can imagine what that was like for him at school,” Ally Hicks, a project manager with a ten-year-old son, told WSJ.

Private tutoring and test preparation in the US “has grown into a $7bn [£5.4bn] industry and is continuing to grow with a slew of educational start-ups”, The Guardian reports. But the idea of private tutoring for a video game has raised a few eyebrows.

“Even Fortnite coaches are surprised by the new trend,” says People magazine.

Some parents paying for Fortnite tutors say they hope their children’s gaming skills could eventually lead to a college scholarship or a lucrative career in e-sports - video games with their own professional leagues, competitions, star players and millions of devoted followers.

Tech news site Digital Trends reports that e-sports are “beginning to receive similar recognition and support as traditional sports, with cable channel ESPN even broadcasting the finals of the Overwatch [e-sports] League in July”.

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