Everyone has heard of Fortnite – even if you’re not sure exactly what it is. With over 350 million players worldwide, the online survival game has amassed a dedicated following and given rise to a new generation of esports professionals. Now Fortnite’s popularity is being harnessed to plant trees, spark conversations about STEM subjects and inspire the visionaries of the futures.
The Difference Makers campaign is led by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a global charity which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Alongside Guild, the esports collective co-owned by David Beckham, the IET has launched the ‘Gaming for Good’ Fortnite tournament, which begins today.
“The future scientists, technicians and engineers who might one day save the world are likely to be found today – in front of their consoles,” says Professor Danielle George, IET’s President.
One burgeoning esports star is Henrik ‘Hen’ Mclean, who recently won the biggest Fortnite tournament in Europe. At just 15 years old, his combined earnings through Fortnite weigh in at over £200,000.
Today, as a member of Guild, Mclean will be participating in a Fortnite tournament unlike any he has experienced before.
In this tournament, players will be encouraged to chop down as many trees as possible. A ‘tree-o-meter’ will track their progress, and the Difference Makers initiative will plant a real tree to replace all the trees felled during the game.
“In Fortnite, we use wood as a building source,” says Mclean. “I never realised that by gaming, I could plant trees in reality.”
To ensure the game has a net zero environmental impact, the carbon emissions generated by the gaming computers involved in the tournament - and the subsequent streaming to the world on Twitch - will be offset. After estimating how much carbon was used, the Difference Makers initiative will plant further trees to supplement those chopped down by the players virtually.
Throughout the tournament, participants will discuss how a love of gaming could be a gateway into the world of STEM, as Guild champion Mclean will play alongside well-known Twitch content creators Gee Nelly and TN25.
“Difference Makers doesn’t just demonstrate that gaming can be green but shows us how the visionaries of the world can be found in unexpected places,” says Michelle Tierney, Guild’s Director of Partnerships.
Find out more about the Gaming for Good tournament here: