A number of internationally renowned mental health experts, leading social scientists, academics, and games industry associations have formally united to oppose the World Health Organisationai??i??s ai???gaming disorderai??? classification.
Games devs have called WHO’s classification and restrictions on loot boxes, ai???censorship.ai???
Back in January, the World Health Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations, revealed plans to list ai???gaming addictionai??? as a mental health condition for the first time in their 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
According to the ICDai??i??s beta draft, ai???gaming disorderai??? is ai???characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (ai???digital gamingai??i?? or ai???video-gamingai??i??), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline.ai???Ai??
Symptoms of ai???gaming disorderai??? include:
- Impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
- Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
- Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
At the time, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) said the decision is not justified by the evidence, and risks trivialising genuine mental health issues, and it seems they are are not alone in opposing the classification.
According to a press release by UK trade body UKIE, 36 ai???internationally renowned and respected mental health experts, leading social scientists and academics from research centers and universitiesai??? are taking a stand against WHOai??i??s plans to create a gaming disorder classification, in the form of a forthcoming journal paper.
The journal paper, titled ai???A Weak Scientific Basis for Gaming Disorder: Let us err on the side of cautionai???, will appear in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions as a formal opposition to WHOai??i??s plans.
In the paperai??i??s abstract, the researchers state, ai???We agree that there are some people whose play of video games is related to life problems. We believe that understanding this population and the nature and severity of the problems they experience should be a focus area for future research. However, moving from research construct to formal disorder requires a much stronger evidence base than we currently have.ai???Ai??
ai???Much confusion remains ai??i?? even among authors supporting the diagnosis ai??i?? regarding what, exactly, gaming disorder is,ai??? the paper argues. ai???Formalising a disorder with the intention to improve research quality neglects the wider non-clinical societal context.ai??? The researchers also claim ai???moral panicai??? could be influencing WHOai??i??s decision to formalise ai???gaming disorder,ai??? particularly due to heightened fears over violent videogames.
In addition, international games industry trade bodies are also joining in the fight in urging WHO to scrap plans to implement the classification. Trade bodies include the UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), the Brazilian Union of Video and Games, the Entertainment Software Association in the USA, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, Interactive Entertainment South Africa, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association for New Zealand and Australia, and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe.
ai???Worldwide opposition to the WHOai??i??s controversial and unproven classification of ai???Gaming Disorderai??i?? continues to grow,ai??? Simon Little, CEO of the Interactive Software Federation Europe, says. ai???The WHOai??i??s process lacks transparency, is deeply flawed, and lacks objective scientific support. We urge this process to be halted.ai???