The Fight Against WHO Gaming Disorder Classification

The Classification Could Be Damaging

In July of 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) added gaming disorder into it’s list of mental health conditions – a move that the Entertainment Software Association says that the classification could damage the thriving industry.

ESA oversees the ESRB as well as organizes E3. It’s acting director,Stanley Pierre-Louis, recently spoke out in an interview about the classification.

“We’re doing things in ways on the creative side that are also very exciting. If you look at the visuals of new games, the exciting ways games are created, the storyboarding… consumers, players, gamers and even fans outside coming in are excited about what they see. And more and more, everything we do is becoming gamified, whether it’s education or health, everyone wants to use the technology to enhance engagement because we’re a leader in audience engagement.” He also added that the concern behind what the WHO is doing is that there is a lack of scientific evidence and consensus behind the proposal.

Mr. Pierre-Louis doesn’t deny that there are people who do play games excessively, but believes that these are manifestations of symptoms rather than games being the root cause of the problem. The ESA’s stance is that “addiction” is a medical term that isn’t to be used lightly, which is why the American Medical Association has rejected terms like “video game addiction” and “gaming disorder”.

His final statement was ““I think the market is responding to the fact that they want compelling engagement by their audiences, but they want it in a healthy way.”