May of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to pass its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). In this revision, WHO introduced a new condition: “Gaming Disorder.” Beyond the polarized opinions on this decision, it is important to take a closer look at what the decision actually entails, what each side are saying, and what does all of this mean for fellow gamers.
In this multi-part series, we will explore
- Part 1: What “Gaming Disorder” is
- Part 2: Controversies Surrounding the Gaming Disorder Classification
- Part 3: Historical Context
- Part 4: Future Implications
Part 4: Future Implications
So what does this recent development mean for health professionals, the video game industry, and fellow gamers? As this 4-part series on Gaming Disorder comes to an end, it is time to look onward to the future.
Whether Gaming Disorder should be a legitimate diagnosis or not, it has certainly caught the attention of health professionals. Some in countries such as South Korea, China, and Netherlands have taken matters into their own hands to form clinics that specifically treat video game addiction   . Beyond debates in the academic world and the legitimacy of existing treatment methods, video game addiction is clearly a problem that health professionals will continue to wrestle with.
There is one place that many professionals have neglected to look at though, and it may lead to clues that points to potential solutions which are much more effective and personalized – that place is the world of gaming itself. It can be as simple as visiting online sites that gamers frequent, or as extensive as attending conventions, or even playing a game or two. Working with the video game industry itself is especially ideal, as many in the industry do have access to data many researchers can only dream about. That said, it is important to take a non-hostile approach. Many existing methods for video game addiction and gaming disorder, focus on an abstinence-based approach, which leads to conflict of interest. It is not about getting the general population to abstain from gaming altogether, but allowing it to enjoy video games in a healthy manner.
The Video Game Industry
Especially with the recent controversies around simulated gambling and loot-boxes , which deserves an article completely on its own merit, it is easy to view the video game industry in a bad light. However, it is important to acknowledge that the industry is right about one thing: Gaming is an activity that the vast majority of people healthily enjoy. That is why it is especially important for the video game industry, now more than ever, to work together with health professionals. Through these collaborations, the industry can become the ally instead of the enemy, with some good PR to boot .
The important thing for the industry to understand is that there are some people who suffer from a gaming disorder or video game addiction. And the important thing for other people to understand is that isn’t indicative of gaming as a whole. But just a mere fraction. Which leads us to…
If you are reading this article right now, chances are you may be a gamer looking for help, or a gamer looking to offer help. Believe it or not, you may just be the key to developing a solution. What makes a game fun? What kind of gamer are you? How involved are you in the gaming community? Gamers understand games, and the many nuances that comes with being a part of the gaming community. That understanding is something truly special. Gamers may play a crucial role in solving video game addiction, and more importantly, encouraging healthy gaming habits. But that comes with an understanding that gaming gaming disorders and video game addiction can and do exist. And that just because they exist, doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy them in a healthy manner.
Final Thoughts: There is help and you are not alone.
Over the course of this 4-part series, we have covered what Gaming Disorder is all about, why people love/hate the classification, the history behind it, and what the future may hold for it.
Video game addiction may be a relatively new condition, but that is not to say there are no resources at all. It may feel like a lonely uphill battle sometimes, but it is not and does not have to be. Whether you are looking for help for yourself or your loved ones, groups such as ours will provide you with the guidance and support you’ll need for the challenges ahead.
For further reading or to find help visit https://www.healthygamer.gg/for-gamers-2/
Or if you’re a parent wanting to know what to do next, visit https://www.healthygamer.gg/parents/
: Lanier, L. (2018). Dutch Mental Health Facility Treats Gaming Addiction in Teens. Variety. [Link]
: Robinson, M. (2015). Korea’s internet addiction crisis is getting worse, as teens spend up to 88 hours a week gaming. Business Insider. [Link]
: West, J. (2015). Inside the Chinese Boot Camps Designed to Break Video Game Addiction. Mother Jones. [Link]
: GrimReaper Alva (2019). UK Parliament Discussing Predatory Lootbox / Microtransaction with EA / Epic Games. YouTube. [Link]
: Dring, C. (2019). Xbox: We have a huge responsibility to a healthy gaming lifestyle. GamesIndustry. [Link]