The World Health Organization moved forward with a proposal to classify “gaming disorder” as an illness.

After a consideration period starting in June 2018, the 194 members of the WHO decided to enact the proposal, known as ICD-11, at the World Health Assembly today.

WHO added gaming disorder to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. This refers to gaming disorder as a kind of addiction, or “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline.

It is manifested by “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; and Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

Stanley Pierre-Louis, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the video game industry in the U.S., has opposed the move because it lacked research foundations and could lead to bans on video games in various countries.

In a statement today, the ESA said, “The global video game industry—including representatives from across Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, and Brazil—today called on World Health Organization (WHO) Member States to re-examine at an early date its decision to include ‘Gaming Disorder’ in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).”

The ESA added, “The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts. ‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools.”

GamesBeat

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member