Addictions take on a variety of forms. These forms commonly include drugs and alcohol, but sometimes more insidious addictions worm their way into a person’s mind. Addictions to gambling, the Internet, social media, and gaming are all very real problems despite society tending to dismiss them as non-issues. Just like with hard drugs and alcoholism, however, gaming addictions have serious consequences for the addict and their social circle.
Years after bringing the problem to light, debates still rage on the best way to intervene and change these behaviors. The World Health Organization listed “gaming disorder” as an addiction last June. Children addicted to popular Battle Royale game Fortnite are occasionally admitted to rehab to help them recover. Prince Harry himself expressed concerns on the worldwide phenomenon just a few weeks ago.
A panel of developers today urged the government in the U.K. to develop more best practices for the industry. At Dundee’s University of Abertay, senior designer at Outplay Keeley Bunting, Earthbound Games’ commercial director Colin Anderson, founder of Ant Workshop Tony Gowland, and Rockstar North’s engine programmer Timea Tabori attended and joined the discussion. The committee asked the attendees about immersion and addiction in technology. According to GamesIndustry.biz, today’s topic focused on video games, the committee wanting to hear directly from developers. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Anderson had additional comments after the panel’s conclusion.
“I’ve been in the industry long enough to see many of these things play out. My fear is that it will end up being another version of what I’ve already seen, which is a lot of well-intentioned discussion — and some form of recommendation that comes out of it — but nothing near the level of long-term thinking and vision that I believe is necessary in order to capture the actual opportunity that is here.”
This is not the first committee in the U.K. to look into the perils of addictive behavior. Techraptor covered another group involved in compulsive gambling late 2017. Given the debate on the ethics of lootbox rewards as a form of gambling, the topic is steadily gaining more spotlight.
Gaming addiction can feel like an uncomfortable or even ridiculous topic. If you or someone you care about exhibits symptoms of addiction, however, the problem suddenly becomes very real. It’s never too late to reach out to people who can help you, or join a self-help group. Gaming is a great source of stress relief and a fun way to meet people. Like any behavior or substance, however, the consistent progress rewards gained from gaming can cause problems and prove addictive to some people.
Hopefully, we can continue to have constructive discussions and tackle the issue. What do you think can be done to help treat and prevent gaming or gambling addictions? Let us know in the comments.