The World Health Organisation defines gaming disorder;
… as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) 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.
Yes, the official definition purposely refines gaming to be digital or video games.
A year ago, the WHO announced plans to include Gaming Disorder in The International Classification of Diseases (ICD). That’s a decision which is being opposed by Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade body that represents the world’s largest (digital) game publishers.
In a report in iNews, ESA President Stanley Pierre-Louis is quoted saying;
In fact, leading mental health experts have cautioned repeatedly that classifying ‘Gaming Disorder’ creates a risk of misdiagnosis for patients who most need help.
It’s our hope that through continued dialogue we can help the WHO avoid rushed action and mistakes that could take years to correct.
The billions of video game players around the world who will be affected by an ICD-11 classification error deserve action based on meticulous research.
The International Game Developers Association, which represents people working in the industry, rather than the mega-publishers is also worried about the WHO’s plans suggesting that they are “prejudicial against gaming as a hobby and interest.”
The 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva is happening right now, and the officials there will debate the issue and make a decision.
Creative Commons credit: My Undying Addiction by Kyle W.
I wouldn’t classify “gaming addiction” on the same level as alcoholism or drug addiction. I think you can let video games control your life, but it’s not on the same level.