The World Health Organization is making headlines after announcing that the term “gaming disorder” will be added to the International Classification of Diseases in June. Gaming addiction has been in the news as parents scramble to make sense of their children’s addiction.
“Characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences,” is how the pattern of “gaming disorder” behaviors will be classified.
The term “gaming disorder” will relate to anyone who suffers from a significant impartment in their occupation, social life or education for a period of twelve months due to gaming.
Video game addiction was the center of a CAMH study in 2016, which found that 13% of students in Ontario schools suffered from some form of a “video game problem.” Boys are particularly vulnerable to gaming addiction.
Fortnite, one of the most popular video games, was the center of a recent study at Glasgow Caledonian University. Andrew Reid, a doctoral researcher, claims that the term “addictive” should not be used when describing the game.
Reid notes that there is a good side to gaming, saying that the consumption of video games doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an addiction. “To do otherwise would be to stigmatise the medium as an evil to our society, despite a growing portfolio of video games and research that reinforce the positive characteristics of play and interactivity,” he said.
The PC market, which has long been associated with gaming, is slowing, but gaming laptops are experiencing a major sales increase. The Philippines is experiencing a surge in sales, with 50,000 gaming laptops sold in 2017 and expected growth to hit 60,000 units by 2018.
PCWorld reports that gaming notebook sales have “absolutely exploded.”
WHO’s classification of “gaming disorder” is, in part, attributed to the rise in mobile and console sales. Gamers are expanding their gaming mediums from the desktop to consoles, smartphones and laptops.
Reid claims that addiction is the excessive consumption of games that conflict with everyday living. Gaming that doesn’t impact work, school or social aspects of a person’s life is said to be recreational rather than an addiction.
China’s rise in gaming has led to harsh criticism of Tencent Holdings, a company that created Honour of Kings. The multiplayer fantasy game has become a massive hit, with 200 million players.
The community has become a major concern for researchers who suspect that the country’s youth are becoming too engrossed with games. Huang Huchens, a delegate of the National People’s Congress, sparked the debate over addiction by asking gaming companies to implement facial recognition into their platforms. The implementation would be used to prevent children from bypassing time-restriction features that stop them from gaming too much.
Tencent is going as far as implementing digital contracts into Honour of Kings that allow parents and their children to negotiate time limits. The contracts will encourage positive behavior, and can be linked to studying and housework to increase the player’s time limit.