WHO Officially Classifies Gaming Addiction as Disorder; Industry Responds

Ever since we were little kids, our parents usually shouted at us for sitting in front of our PCs for too long or playing video games for too long. Some people often exaggerated their playing time, eventually leading to what people saw as a “gaming addiction.” Well, the latest draft for the revised International Classification of Diseases (ICD) submitted by the World Health Organization, aka WHO, classifies “gaming addiction” as an official disorder.

Luckily, several gaming entities teamed up and delivered an official letter to the WHO, in an attempt to derail the organisation from making it official as of January 2019, that’s when the 144th Executive Board Meeting will be held to review the final draft.

Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognised. We are therefore concerned to see ‘gaming disorder’ still contained in the latest version of the WHO’s ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive. We hope that the WHO will reconsider the mounting evidence put before them before proposing inclusion of ‘gaming disorder’ in the final version of ICD-11 to be endorsed next year. We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world.

Do you think the WHO will overturn its decision if enough gaming personnel and organizations voiced their opinions?