The New Scientist reports that the World Health Organization is to include “gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases (Amazon). The wording is yet to be finalized, but will encompass gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests” and meets various criteria of adverse effects such as anxiety, antisocial conduct and withdrawal symptoms.
Last year, researchers from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute undertook a study to investigate the percentage of gamers who are addicted to video games.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that only 2 to 3 per cent of the 19,000 men and women surveyed from the UK, the US, Canada and Germany admitted that they experienced five or more of the symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association checklist of health symptoms.
In the past, game addiction has generally been ignored, but public perception is changing, not least due to the widespread introduction of gambling mechanisms into mainstream games and hardcore Gamers’ growing reputation for bug-eyed tweaky behavior in general.