Entertainment Software Association Rebukes Gaming Addiction Classification

by Imran Khan on Jan 02, 2018 at 03:07 PM

The Entertainment Software Association, a trade association and lobbying group made up of many of the industry's biggest publishers, is pushing against the World Health Organization's classification of gaming addiction as a recognized disorder.

In a statement released today, the ESA believes that the draft classifying gaming addiction as a diagnosable disorder "recklessly trivializes real mental health issues.”

"Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time,” said the ESA in a released statement. “Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than 2 billion people around the world enjoy video games.

“The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action."

This statement is in line with a more vocal ESA, who recently came out in favor of the White House's STEM initiatives and the recently passed tax plan.

The initial draft of the ICD-11 shown before the end of the year categorized gaming addiction as a disorder, but the official release is not due until mid-2018.


Our Take
The ESA is looking out for the profit margins of the involved companies above all else, so it makes sense to push against anything that makes gaming look bad. That said, this statement is transparent and seems like it is actively intended to keep people who need help from getting it. The optics on it are incredibly bad.