The Video Game Industry Responds To WHO Categorization Of Gaming Addiction
The World Health Organization has been considering whether or not to officially recognize gaming addiction as a disorder. The decision was ultimately made official yesterday, which is causing strenuous objection from the Entertainment Software Association, a lobbying group made of up companies within the gaming industry.
In a statement released to the media signed by the ESA, the ESA of Canada, the European Games Developer Federation, Interactive Entertainment South Africa, Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Korea Association of Game Industry, Interactive Software Federation of Europe, and United Brazilian Organization of Video Games, the industry expressed its concern:
“Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognized. We are therefore concerned to see ‘gaming disorder’ still contained in the latest version of the WHO’s ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive. We hope that the WHO will reconsider the mounting evidence put before them before proposing inclusion of ‘gaming disorder’ in the final version of ICD-11 to be endorsed next year. We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world.”
The ESA also pushed back against this categorization in January of this year after the World Health Organization first announced its intent to pursue this idea, and then again in March.
I think gaming addiction absolutely needs classification, but the WHO's minimum number (20 hours a week) works out to a bit less than three hours a day, which does not seem dysfunctionally high. That said, the gaming industry is obviously fighting this because it could hurt their bottom line. I guess there's not much to do here but sit back and observe.