World Health Organization Adds “Hazardous Gaming” To ICD-11 Draft

Gaming hazard

Gaming as an addiction isn’t the only thing that appeared in the ICD-11 beta draft for the World Health Organization’s upcoming update for listings of international diseases. According to Eurogamer, they recently spotted another new addition to the draft, this time including “hazardous gaming”.

The entry is under factors that influence health status or require contact with health services, and is situated within the category of “Problems associated with health behaviors”. The entry in the ICD-11 beta draft reads…

“Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual. The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these. The pattern of gaming is often persists in spite of awareness of increased risk of harm to the individual or to others.”

The Entertainment Software Association chimed in to offer their take on the World Health Organization adding two entries for gaming into the ICD-11 draft, with a representative telling that they’re encouraging WHO to reverse course…

“Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than 2 billion people around the world enjoy video games. The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action.”

There’s a part of the industry that’s afraid this could negatively impact gaming as a whole, with more restrictions and possible government scrutiny being brought down for additional regulation. However, there’s nothing indicating right now that such a event will take place. Others, however, don’t seem to mind it all that much.

The additions to the WHO drafts were lobbied for by Asian countries, and it’s been known that South Korea has been aggressively pursuing adding video games as a form of addition given that they consider it one of the four evils of their society, despite e-sports and MMOs being some of the biggest exports from the country.

There’s really no telling if the draft will go through, but there have already been some members close to the organization of the draft who have basically stated that the entries are a lock, which will be finalized for the 2018 report.

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