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Discussion Video Game Addiction

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by devonhg, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. devonhg

    devonhg Member

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    The World Health Organization ( WHO ) is working on declaring gaming addiction ( or "gaming disorder" ) as a mental disorder.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/17/business/video-game-addiction.html

    I'm very interested in what this communities thoughts are on this subject, especially where the moral grounds lie on making a game "compulsive" to play.

    Extra Credits member James gives his story on the negative impact highly compulsive games had on his life.





    This is a subject that is very near and dear to me, and I find it very affirming to see this come to surface. My history ( obviously ) is deeply rooted in video games and it wasn't until I finally broke the habit of playing more than 2 hours a day that I started to see real results in my life. I've in fact been educating people on Microaddictions.


    So, what are your thoughts? Do you think WHO is right in moving this forward or are they over reacting to gaming culture?
     
  2. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    i think extra credits suck and are a bunch of losers. playn games can be addicting. every1 knows that. and there are meny addicts there. every1 knows that too. what exactly is your question? how to deal with somthing that you cant deal and avoid with your addiction? ask @Rivo , i think he entered social life and is a happy fella now. :D
     
    Rivo likes this.
  3. Cloaked Games

    Cloaked Games Member

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    Does gaming addiction quality as it's own separate mental disorder? I don't know, I'm not a qualified professional in that area. But it is definitely a problem for some (or even many people) to be addicted to their games, or technology in general. And it's clear that those addictions hardly contribute to a productive life. I think the clear benefit of labeling game addiction as what it is, game addiction, and not something unconnected to it, is that people who do have that trouble are able to find validation that they have a legitimate problem. And hopefully eventually find real help if they are in need of a support network to get back on their feet.

    The counter article linked in the original article you posted, stating at least some of the industry's point of view, is however correct that this classification lacks much scientific research to validate it. I think we can all see clearly the effects of gaming/technology addiction, but does classifying it help if we know nothing past that it exists? However, the industry stating that, "The educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games is well-established and recognized," is not a very good point, because it's a fallacy to assume that the fact that some games are beneficial, that means that no games are harmful. And it depends on the individual playing the game too.

    So, the much more interesting question, and the OP mentioned this, is what moral issues do game developers face when designing games to be fun. Do we have a responsibility to avoid making our games addicting? Now, everything here assumes you believe that decisions should be made based on an ethical guideline of some sort. (IE, I'm not going to discuss the legality of making an addicting game).

    And as to that question, I personally believe that yes, as developers we should be concerned for our players more than how to best make money off of them (usually by using techniques like skinner-boxes to get people to keep playing, watch adds, or pay for extra content). This means a lot of things, not just concerning addiction. I think it's important that we avoid techniques/designs that are entirely designed to convince or even trick people into continually playing. The idea is, players should want to play the game entirely because they want to play the game, because they are having fun. Not to keep playing so they can reach one more level, one more story part, etcetera. That just makes the game more fun to play anyways. Some things in terms of design that should be considered are things like, where is the play again button? Is it easy to save and quit the game? For example, in Sea of Thieves, there is no way to save and come back to finish selling your treasure or continue a voyage later. Now, this is necessary due to it being the game it is, but as much as possible, I think designers should make it easier rather than harder to save and quit the game. Also, giving smaller rewards more often so players can stop playing on a high note (this is particular for games with matchmaking ladders).

    Really, this just results in better games. And maybe I'm too idealistic, and you just can't make money off of a game unless you cram every micro-transaction you can, every skinner box, every number progressing higher. But I think EA proves that this can be taken too far. I tend to believe that making a more honest game, that remembers that your players are real human beings, gains some real benefits from the kinds of people who recognize that and buy your games because of it.

    This is all nice and dandy, but it won't stop game addiction. As developers we only have very limited control over the choices or eventual addictions of our players. So for that reason, I think that the people funding the research cited as lacking by the game industry, is the game industry. The game industry may not be responsible for people's addiction, but they should want to devote the time and effort into studying the field they are working in so that they can design and make games which are better products and are more healthy for their players. I think that is what will benefit games the most in the long run. And certainly, doing nothing, believing that all addictions are just inevitable, seems like ignoring an opportunity to really help a lot of people, even if it's impossible to help every single person.
     
    devonhg likes this.
  4. Rivo

    Rivo 7014

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    Lol! Good observation. I have no comment on that rn. Still tryna sort my life out.
     
  5. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    Personally I dont think the issue is if people can be addicted to video games or not (hint: they can).

    The real issue is that there is that there is little to no evidence that video games are uniquely addictive when compared to other enjoyable behaviors. Why then have video games been singled out for its own "disorder" when by definition it fits entirely under the existing classification of "Behavioral Addiction"?

    What next? "Fishing Disorder"? "Cycling Disorder"? "DnD Disorder"?
     
  6. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    the word disorder hints you what can be a disorder. so far no1 had a disorder from fishing or cycling infact people get only positive resaults from such activites. cant say that for gaming. gaming has no positive effects infact.
     
  7. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    Simply not true.

    Exercise is a very common thing for people to have a behavioral addiction to.

    Yes it has fitness benefits, but it is still classed as both an addiction and a disorder if you're compelled to prioritise it over normal commitments.
     
  8. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    yes there are exceptions but for gaming u can say people are alot more addictive and addicted then sports and id still say it shuldnt be seen as a disorder or whatever becouse its simply not unhealthy for you while games damage you both mentally and physically. and i dont know what u mean by fitness benefits. its simply healthy to move ur body. and its not healty in the slightest to play video games. games are like smokin tobacco. its a pleasure at a cost.
     
  9. Roman P.

    Roman P. Member

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    i'm only addicted to my own games
     
  10. devonhg

    devonhg Member

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    @JackTurbo , @Cloaked Games, fantastic contributions to the conversation!

    To your point Cloaked, touche. If people weren't getting addicted to video games they would find something else to get addicted to. I'm also very excited by what you said about the industry for its own interest studying this phenomenon so they can get a better picture of the impact of their product, and maybe even improve it.


    To your point Jack yes, it does bring up the question, when do you start calling something an addiction?

    "I'm utterly fascinated by this conversation and this forum, so I guess I'm addicted to it. We better call for reform and have everyones access to online forums limited."

    All joking aside, an addiction is fundamentally a behavior that a person is compelled to do beyond their control that is socially and/or legally unacceptable, on top of it being unhealthy.

    But, what if an addiction is both socially and legally acceptable? Even though it can possibly have the same negative impacts as a full blown addiction? This leads to my next question for you guys.



    I came up with a theory called "Microaddictions", or addictions that are socially and legally acceptable, and therefor are not considered addictions.

    Case and point, the cigarette industry in the early 19th century had everyone totally convinced that smoking was in fact very healthy for you and made it very socially acceptable.

    https://gizmodo.com/14-absurd-ads-from-before-we-knew-cigarettes-could-kill-1499396560

    But then people figured it out and it became socially discouraged to smoke, therefore people started to see it as an addiction. Until they saw that however people simply accepted it as an every day thing.

    Will video games fall into this? Cell phones? Other forms of entertainment media?

    I'm not sure, and I'm certainly not qualified to make such a prediction. At this time it's to each their own.



    I would however like to pose another question on this topic. Assuming we program games to be addictive, because that's how they become profitable. Can they become addictive but leave the player with something useful or beneficial?

    As an example I'd like to use the Mass Effect series. That's a series I invested a LOT of time into, with several playthroughs. Even though I easily invested 100+ hours across each of the games, it gave me a space for "Moral Exploration" that looking back I now see as very healthy, and has made me a better person today.

    Destiny, on the other hand, took more than twice the hours and caused me nothing but frustration and even self harm.


    So, as game developers, can we use our platform as a means of helping our players experience a message through the compulsion to play that will improve their lives?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
    Cloaked Games likes this.
  11. devonhg

    devonhg Member

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    tbh it's probably b/c kids make up a huge portion of those addicted or "at risk" for addiction. i imagine it's a lot easier to raise awareness and funding for kids suffering from "video game addiction" than it is for the potential thousands of variations of a generalized "addiction disorder".

    the article OP linked seems to claim that as the actual reason driving it as well, in that these "oddly specific diseases and disorders" come about not b/c they're inherently unique in their definition or anything, but that the specific needs and resources necessary to alleviate the amount of people suffering from this particular variant is not sufficient.
     
    devonhg likes this.
  13. devonhg

    devonhg Member

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    Wonderful contribution ( Love your profile pic, btw )! In fact, the original article references a ted talk on this very issue.

    Addiction to technology tends to pull people from other things they would otherwise be doing ( good or otherwise ). So another interesting direction is this:

    In a positive way, for youth technology compulsion:
    • Prevents real world shenanigans ( blowing up frogs, teen pregnancy, in general making bad choices early )
    • Provides an enclosed space to develop if they aren't getting it from their immediate family
    • In a round about way, helps develop basic skills they otherwise would not accumulate
    However, the technology compulsion reasonably hurts youth/people by:
    • Preventing strong social development ( the other side of no real world shenanigans, essentially not making choices at all )
    • Creating reliance on a virtual reality for validation that likely doesn't align with real world reality
    • Through "False Achievement", the individual feels that they are accomplishing things in life, but are actually doing nothing
    There are certainly some strong downs, but strong ups as well. The next step is how to balance these factors.


    In contrast to strong social development, any of you guys actually gain healthy confidence from playing games or certain games?
     

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