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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 260-261

The gaming industry and its role in the prevention of video game addiction

Desousa Foundation; Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission04-Aug-2021
Date of Decision17-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance21-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Avinash De Sousa
Carmel, 18, St. Francis Road, Off SV Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai - 400 054, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_231_21

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Behavioral addictions in the form of gaming addictions have been the rising addiction disorders in the recent years. The prevention of video game addiction is a must to curb the problem in its budding stage. The gaming industry has a vital role to play in the management of gaming addiction. The current viewpoint elucidates the role of the gaming industry in the prevention of video game addiction.

Keywords: Addiction, gaming industry, video game

How to cite this article:
Sousa AD. The gaming industry and its role in the prevention of video game addiction. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2021;37:260-1

How to cite this URL:
Sousa AD. The gaming industry and its role in the prevention of video game addiction. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 8];37:260-1. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2021/37/3/260/327289

Behavioral addictions have been considered to be the new age addictions seen in today's modern era and one of the components of behavioral addiction is video game addiction. Gaming has always been recognized as a formalized type of play, but gaming becomes a need and an addiction when the hours of gaming increase and there is an increased dependency to indulge in gaming regularly as well to cross levels and gain points and enjoy the process of gaming and take risk giving the player (gamer) a new high. The excessive use of games may also cause psychopathologies such as sociooccupational and academic deterioration, sleep problems, anger and aggression, depression, and anxiety along with comorbid addictions such as smoking and substance abuse.[1] The key question that has plagued researchers is who do we blame for the genesis of such addictions. Should the onus be on parents who gift gaming devices, tabs, and access to games to their children, peer pressure that pushes children and adolescents to play these games, the thrill and novelty, and reward of gaming that attacks some vulnerable brains more than others or the very gaming industry that makes these games and causes the genesis of the root of the problem.[2] Here, in this article, I aim to present what the gaming industry could do or propose that they should do to curb the rates of and prevent gaming addiction and excessive video game usage.

  1. The gaming industry must be open to team up with mental health professionals and take their opinion when it comes to building games that are often addictive in nature and have some components that may be criminal or morally wrong even though in fantasy and in the virtual world. The gaming industry must be made cognizant of the fact that they are in fact sowing the seeds of psychopathology in young minds and the content and gruesome graphics of their games that may involve bloodshed, killing, bombing, and sexual innuendos must be scrutinized well to make sure that they do not influence young minds negatively and the addictive potential of various games must be studied. Thus, it is vital that gaming industry experts and mental health experts must converge and decide what is best before a game is finalized and released
  2. The gaming industry must also be ready to fund and support research when a new game is released and a period of 12–18 months be allowed to see how the game is functioning and performing among the masses. There is a need for research on hours of usage, number of gamers, addictive usage of the game, and the effect of the game at various levels of society and this data must be made open to the public so that they are warned of the addictive potential of a game just like cigarette companies warn of the ill effects of smoking on the packet. The research must be carried out by neutral researchers and the findings of such research shall help to determine whether a game remains or is withdrawn in the long run from the market
  3. The gaming industry and mental health experts as well as cyber experts must come together and promote research on areas such as problem gaming markers in people that indulge in online gaming, there must be a focus on the genesis of responsible gaming tools such as gaming limit setting within the game so that the excessive usage is not permitted and the fact that the game may not be used for a time beyond a certain time continuously and breaks for few hours before a person can move ahead. The game must also have pop-up messages that warn players of excessive gaming and its deleterious effects. The health-related aspects of the gaming experience must be studied by the gaming industry and this is true for all types of games. Strict rating of games is must and the body that rates games must have strategic representation from all strata of the stakeholders
  4. The data from gaming include environmental data where games are played, account data, and financial information such as the amount of money spent on games, the age of the gamer using the game, hours of usage, and the reason for playing with gender differences in gamers would help us refine and redefine the criteria for online and offline gaming addiction. There is a need to receive such data from the gaming industry and use that data for mental health benefits in the long run
  5. The gaming industry spends a lot on advertisement and hyping the game that they have to sell. Mentioning of incorrect facts must be avoided as they tend to make the game appealing and more addictive. Gaming company staff such as public relations and marketing departments must have some background in gaming addictions so that they do not toe the ethical line when it comes to gaming marketing. It is imperative that gaming companies realize that irrespective of the type of game whether adventure games, real-time strategies games, city-builder games, role-playing games, or others, each type of game has its consumers that all have their likes and dislikes and their addictive potentials and the gaming industry must be aware of the same
  6. The gaming industry must have a gaming rating system that is sensitive to the cultural climate and temper of the country that the game is marketed in. Sometimes a game that may be labeled as 13 and above in the USA due to cultural acceptability may need a different label here. The gaming rating authorities must not be influenced by the gaming industry and must have a free hand in the gaming screening and censor process
  7. The gaming industry must take the lead to have many responsible gaming initiatives and tools that they could use to curbing excessive video game usage. These include limit-setting tools (tools that allow gamers to set the amount of time and money they wish to spend on gaming), exclusion tools (tools that allow gamers not to enter gaming websites and play games at particular times of the day so that work and academics does not suffer), cool off periods (allowing gamers a break of a day or so between certain hours of gaming), messages (that are personalized and remind the gamer of the time, energy, and money spent on gaming), and scan apps (that analyze the gaming patterns of a player and tell him or her whether they are at a risk of compulsive and excessive gaming usage). Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sites where these gaming communities exists may also play their role in the same with the gaming industry.[3]

Thus, the gaming industry must work hand in hand with the behavioral scientists and mental health professionals as well as policymakers and come up with ways and means to curb excessive video game usage so that we prevent an explosion of the next generation of excessive video game users.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Griffiths MD, Kuss DJ, King DL. Video game addiction: Past, present and future. Curr Psychiatr Rev 2012;8:308-18.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zastrow M. News feature: Is video game addiction really an addiction? Proc Natl Acad Sci 2017;114:4268-72.  Back to cited text no. 2
Griffiths MD, Pontes HM. The future of gaming disorder research and player protection: What role should the video gaming industry and researchers play? Int J Ment Health Addict 2019;7:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 3


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