The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in May last year its decision to add video game addiction to its list of mental disorders. In other words, being hooked on video games is a disease.
It is important to understand this in its full extent: it is not an activity that leads to illness, video game addiction is itself a disorder, like sedentary life or gambling addiction.
It is surprising that it is in these times, when everyone has access to the best food and everyone has sports facilities within their reach, that it is more necessary to insist on good physical work and on reducing food (or over-nutrition), and video games are largely to blame for the fact that young people do not get enough physical exercise.
The issue is of concern to the industry, which wants to keep growing its business but does not want to be singled out, not to be the bad guys in the movie. In some places, addiction seems to be greater or simply more of a concern to health authorities. This is the case in China.
Last year it was already known that the Chinese Government was banning minors from playing after 10 p.m. and for more than 90 minutes a day. Now there is a kind of digital ‘curfew’ from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Minors are prohibited from playing more than 90 minutes on weekdays and more than 3 hours on weekends and holidays.
But it doesn’t seem to be enough. At least not in the case of the game with the greatest impact today: Fortnite. Epic Games’ battle royale came to China from Tencent (making wild profits) and both companies are worried about some players getting hooked – or so they say.
That’s why, from now on, Chinese gamers receive messages when they play too much Fortnite, according to Dexerto. These are texts that warn them of playing too much and the addiction that it shows. In addition, the challenges are disabled and the experience is impaired.
Even gamers who play for 5 hours straight get a message. Both end up receiving a text reminding them that life is out there and that their body will thank them for it. The message says: “The right physical exercise is good for your body”.
We talk now about China, but addiction can happen anywhere. In October of last year, a lawsuit was filed in Quebec City, Canada, against Epic Games for making Fortnite a premeditated addictive game. The lawyers compared this battle royale to cocaine, because the title, in their opinion, is designed to create addiction.
That same month, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom included video game addiction in the list of diseases to treat. Since then, it has become another service offered by the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions.