Fortnite, e-cigarettes and the latest in business news around N.C.

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 1/10/20

It’s a new year and a new edition of the Corner Store. As you probably figured out last week, we’re going to keep this thing going into 2020.

We haven’t had a state business roundup in a …

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Fortnite, e-cigarettes and the latest in business news around N.C.

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It’s a new year and a new edition of the Corner Store. As you probably figured out last week, we’re going to keep this thing going into 2020.

We haven’t had a state business roundup in a while, so that’s what we’re going to do this week. Here we go:

Cary-based developer’s video game tops sales in 2019

If you have a pre-teen or teenage boy, or if you are one, or if you know anything about video games, or if you play video games — basically, if you’re a human — you know about Fortnite.

The incredibly popular shooting game brought in $1.8 billion in 2019, the most of any game, despite dropping from its $2.4 billion the year before. What makes Fortnite’s success, both initial and continued, somewhat surprising is that the main game mode, Battle Royale, is free to download. The money comes from extras players can spend money on for their in-game characters. As a former (terrible) Fortnite player myself, I understand the appeal, but it’s incredible that it’s continued to be successful since it was released on July 21, 2017.

Also, you can tell your kids that Fortnite was developed about 30 miles from downtown Pittsboro, in downtown Cary. That’s kind of cool. When I heard that, I thought it was cool, and I kind of sort of like video games.

FDA unveils plan to ban most flavors of e-cigarettes

As the cigarette-purchasing age goes up to 21, regulations on the rapidly-popular e-cigarettes are ramping up as well. On Jan. 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a policy designed to focus on “enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors,” according to a news release. The policy states that companies that don’t stop manufacturing, distributing and selling flavors other than tobacco or menthol within 30 days “risk FDA enforcement actions.”

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in the release. “By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth.”

Chatham County has seen e-cigarettes become a focus of school- and county-based efforts to cut down on use. According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 46 percent of Chatham high schoolers and 13 percent of middle schoolers have used an electronic vapor product, which includes vape pipes, vape pens and e-cigarettes. Chatham County Schools and the Chatham County government both have new “no tobacco” signs on its campuses which include e-cigarettes, and the county government formalized a no-tobacco-on-county-property ordinance late last year.

New pro sports team coming to Charlotte

Charlotte is already home to the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers, and next year, it will be home to another pro sports team. On Dec. 17, Major League Soccer announced that the league’s 30th team will locate in the Queen City, bringing top-flight American soccer to North Carolina.

“The awarding of an expansion team for Charlotte by Major League Soccer is a proud moment and significant for Charlotte and everyone in our community,” said David Tepper, the new team’s owner as well as owner of the Panthers. “I’ve made clear for a long time that I have two goals as a team owner: sustained winning on the field and making a difference in the community. These will be our goals with Charlotte’s MLS team, and the work begins today.”

Charlotte and North Carolina have a rich soccer history in recent years. A Concacaf Gold Cup doubleheader at Bank of America Stadium in June last year saw nearly 60,000 fans attend games featuring Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Martinique. The Mexican national team will play a match there in 2020. The Raleigh-based North Carolina Courage have won back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League titles.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.


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