Videogame biz ‘in denial’ over game addiction, allegedly

Australia’s largest daily paper, the Herald-Sun, has written a charmingly alarming piece that accuses the games industry of being “in denial” over the very real and very serious threat of videogame addiction. Describing so-called game addiction as a “national health problem,” the paper claims that the industry has backed away from the subject, while poor victims lose their jobs and marriages over their 10-hour-a-day gaming habits.

“It can be all consuming. I had one patient who was so involved with one game called World of Warcraft and would play it up to eight ten hours a day,” claims psychologist William Campos. I wonder if he’d be equally concerned about someone who read books for eight hours a day. Probably not. 

The Herald adds:

Games are an easy target, but it is true that the computer and video games industry has, unsurprisingly, backed away from the subject of games addiction. A statement from the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia shows the industry is in denial.

“Certainly many young people go through periods of intense involvement in computer game play, for example with a new game, but this is not a lasting obsession for the majority,” it said.

The whole “game addiction” argument is laughable to me, since it fails to take into account the fact that absolutely anything can be “addictive”, given the right circumstances and the right people. It takes a certain type of person to be addicted to videogames, especially as there is no chemical dependency at play. People need to be looking at the mentality of the people, not the videogames. Game addiction is a symptom, not a cause, and removing games from the equation won’t eliminate the root of a person’s problem.

The mainstream media seems to be “in denial” about that concept.

Jim Sterling