In a highly controversial move, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included a “gaming disorder” in the publication of its most recent disease classification manual. You’re wondering why that is important? Well, their “International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD)” is a reference classification for disease of all sorts. Many countries base what can be treated, and what insurances pay for, on the research and evaluation of the WHO. As such the manual is expected to be accepted by multiple countries and the effects should take place in 2022.
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First of all, this is not a bad move per se. People that actually suffer from what could maybe be called a “gaming disorder” can now finally get proper treatment. It might sound weird, but in some countries the official recognition of a disease is what’s required to get any help at all. The classification however is met with all sorts of doubts and criticism. Apparently there’s not enough research and statistical evidence to support the claims of the WHO, and many feel the organization rushed the disorder into its publication due to certain pressure of Asian countries.
It’s an interesting discussion because it stigmatizes gaming and obviously in some way attacks a billion dollar and still growing market (Amazon, Twitch, etc.). So it’s not surprising that the industry strongly opposes the move of the WHO. The inclusion of excessive gaming certainly feels premature, and a lot more research has to be done on the topic. It’s however kind of funny that many publishers and organizations push back against the idea of a gaming disorder while they do shit about getting rid of lockboxes, which evidently cause addictive behavior. Now isn’t that ironic?
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