Fortnite online game draws millions of simultaneous players

Two strangers got the jump on 27-year-old Corey Crawford, a.k.a. BoofinBernstein, Tuesday.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Corey exclaimed into his headset's microphone to his teammate who uses the handle JohnnyCheesecake. "Wow."

Of the 100 players in this duo round of the free online survival game Fortnite, BoofinBernstein and JohnnyCheesecake just became the 95th and 96th to die; good enough for fifth place.

"If I was back at home, I'd just keep playing until I won," Corey said.

Corey lives in San Diego. We met him in his girlfriend's Rutgers dorm room, to which he brought both his Xbox and his headset from across the country to aid his online Fortnite squad during this week of vacation.

"I'm pretty hooked," Corey admitted.

Amy Selling's two sons, 13-year-old Zach and 11-year-old Parker, used to play video games for a half hour at a time.

"Now [it's] two hours, three hours and there's silence," she said. "They literally can disappear from Friday to Sunday. I will not see them."

Selling's boys discovered Fortnite in November. She wrote about their addiction on her blog,, wondering in her post if she was alone in her need to set Fortnite parameters in her home. She soon heard from parents all around the world whose kids also disappeared into these 20-minute (at most) survival rounds in which 100 players build forts, look for weapons and power-ups and hunt one another to survive on ever-shrinking maps, in far more cartoonish engagements than one might find in more lifelike shooter games like Call of Duty.

"There are high schoolers playing, 27-, 28-, 29-year-old men, fathers who are playing," Selling said.

Twenty-seven-year-olds like Corey and intrigued fathers like Corey's dad.

"He went out, got himself an Xbox and he started playing with me," Corey said.

Earlier this month, Epic Games announced 3.4 million gamers played Fortnite at the same time — then its largest concurrent number of players but a total many expect the game's since surpassed.

"When my girlfriend's asleep, when my parents are asleep, when everyone's asleep on the East Coast but on the West Coast it's only nine o'clock," Corey said, "I'll play for hours."

"Right here!" Corey shouted to JohnnyCheesecake through his headset mic, alerting him to the location of a competitor. "On me!"