Titan Gaming and Collectibles is adding Fortnite to its menu of gaming options, and they’re marking the occasion with a kickoff tournament on July 14. Fortnite launched as a paid-for game on July 25, 2017, that encouraged cooperative play between up to four players in a dystopian world, but it wasn’t until the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale, that enables 100 players to compete in a winner-takes-all battle royale, launched in September later last year, that it exploded as the new online gaming smash hit. The battle royale version of the game now numbers over 125 million registered players, with over 40 million logging on at least once each month.

The game itself has become a pop-culture phenomenon and crept into mainstream media. It has gained notoriety on a number of fronts and has also become the poster child for concerns about video-game addiction. After reports, this spring, by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, that a former first-round pick of a Canadian hockey team was putting his hockey career in jeopardy due to video-game addiction, hockey players eligible for this year’s NHL draft reported that teams were asking them, during interviews, how much they played Fortnite. As well, the England soccer team captain, Harry Kane, admitted to British press that he was pretty addicted to the game and playing it a lot during the downtime between matches at this summer’s World Cup.

Titan Gaming events manager Chris Vainio confirms that, like any engrossing video game, Fortnite players can get pretty obsessed with the competitive nature of it.

“We have had people who come in and play Fortnite for three to four hours straight,” he said. “As soon as you’re in, there’s a hundred other people and the map is shrinking on you.”

Titan Gaming will use the 2v2 playground mode for the tournament, but will also launch a Fortnite league that will incorporate the battle royale version. The store organizes their tournaments as three rounds, and if that doesn’t leave an undisputed winner, they have a fourth playoff round. The tournament and league are part of the gaming community hub that the store is building as part of their new space, according to Vainio. They have run a Rocket League league for the past year and just recently hosted a gaming open house.

“There hasn’t been as much [organized tournaments] happening since the move, because with the move and food it’s been busier,” he said about the changes. “Before, I went to Titan [Gaming] to play Counterstrike with my nephew and the PCs were all full.

“The store has become a social hub with the new layout. We want to take advantage of the PCs with the social-gathering space.”

Titan has developed the space to accommodate groups to play and also keep the extra players who aren’t playing occupied in-between their matches. They’ve mounted a big-screen TV on the wall and stream the matches for people to watch. It’s all part of the experience they are working to create and that will provide other opportunities as well.

“We’re throwing around ideas like having an NHL XBox tournament,” said Vainio. “We’re trying to do things that can translate into birthday parties. But we also need something to do in-between matches.”

The tournament has drawn a lot of interest. Vainio indicated that there has been a number of inquiries on dates and also about people wanting to play cross platform by bringing in their own device because it is designed to be compatible on multiple-game consoles, not just PCs. Given the interest, and recognizing that summer weekends are always busy, the addition of Fortnite as a competitive game at Titan Gaming won’t be a one-and-done if the first tournament doesn’t draw.

“If we don’t get the numbers, we’ll need to let these things breathe for a bit,” Vainion explained. “With gaming and card games being so mainstream now, lots of people do different things.”

The first Titan Gaming Fortnite tournament will take place on July 14 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and their league will take place on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, starting on July 3. For more information, contact titangamingchris@gmail.com or call 668-5750.