UKIE Responds to Panorama Special on Addiction

December 2, 2010 -

Even before BBC One airs the Panorama special "Addicted to Games" next Monday, the UK games industry trade group UKIE is sounding off. The Panorama special promises to "reveal the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more," according to a promo for the show.

UKIE director general Michael Rawlinson, who was interviewed for the show according to Computer & Videogames, issued a statement ahead of the broadcast highlighting the fact that there is no "proven link between video games and addiction," adding that opinions among academics on the subject are mixed. More from the UKIE head:

"Playing games is a hobby - just like reading, listening to music or playing a sport - that millions of people around the world engage in safely every day," said Rawlinson. "We know that most people use games as part of a balanced lifestyle: in the UK, 55 percent of gamers aged 16-49 play for 1-5 hours a week, with only 12 percent playing in excess of 10 hours a week. "

UKIE is aware of some individuals that play games excessively but often the cause of many of the sad cases that we hear about are down to other underlying medical, social or environmental issues concerning the individuals concerned.

Rawlinson went on to say that playing games sensibly has multiple benefits such as developing social skills, nurturing strategic thinking, physical health through games that provide physical activity, and other general health benefits.


Comments

Re: UKIE Responds to Panorama Special on Addiction

Reposting my earlier comments on this matter here since no-one's gonna be reading the old post anymore:

1) I trust Panorama. It's generally been exemplary investigative journalism, cutting to the point and free of bullshit.

(For those not familar (ie, anyone not British), Panorama is a current affairs program that has investigated topics ranging from hot-button issues of the day to scoops relating to actual, significant public-interest issues. Their wikipedia entry contains a list of their finer moments.)

2) There ARE devices in games, outside of core gameplay mechanics, that are inserted into games to make them more compelling than they would otherwise be. That's why every other goddamn game these days has some sort of shoehorned-in RPG mechanic where you get XP and level up to unlock arbitrarily better stuff. That's why random item drops were gradually added to Team Fortress 2. That's why the proliferation of achievements hapened. Hell, it's the sole reasons MMORPGs (and even JRPGs) are successful. I could write a goddamn doctoral dissertation about TF2 in particular, and about the profit argument (that must have existed) behind the scenes that inevitably lead to the monetization of the most steadfast "game first, profit second" videogame in recent history.

3) The actual debate is likely to (correctly) take for granted that there are addictive elements in games, and center around the question of whether these elements are harmful. IE, would an otherwise non-addictive personality fall victim to them, can they be the sole focal point of a person's downward spiral or just an aggrivator, etc, etc.

Re: UKIE Responds to Panorama Special on Addiction

1) Agreed, and I hope this will be one of their better editions.

2) While that is true, these features are usually not hidden in any way, and are usually entirely optional. In my experience, achievements and unlocks are used to encourage the player to try new things, play the game in a different way and take on new challenges. What the program's tag-line suggests is that there is some nefarious element (like subliminal messages) that make video games addictive in a way that the player cannot control. Obviously, the tag-line is just meant to draw our attention and does not necessarily represent the content of the program.

3) Agreed, but it would be helpful if they gave some background information on what those elements actually are. It would certainly be useful for the non-gaming audience members.

Re: UKIE Responds to Panorama Special on Addiction

As someone who has dealt with real chemical addiction and is also a big fan of video games I can say without a doubt that while people may get waaaay too into games to the point it damages their life it affects a MUCH smaller percentage of the population than traditional addiction, has much less devastating effects, and is more easily treated and overcome. If it is a real phenomenon at all.

Re: UKIE Responds to Panorama Special on Addiction

Panorama's really on a roll at the moment. Rushing out a programme featuring a rehash of previous allegations at the corrupt organisation that is FIFA in order to damage the World Cup bid and now this?

I'll have to watch it, but the quality of Panorama has dropped dramatically in recent years.

 
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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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