According to a new study conducted by the Institute for Special Populations Research in New York, some types of games are more addictive than others and have the potential to create "problem gaming" habits in a small percentage of gamers. While the mental health community is not quite ready to make the leap of faith it takes to proclaim that video game addiction is a real mental disorder like gambling and drug addiction, studies like this one are certainly trying to establish causation.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently rejected several proposals to include video game addiction in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (to be published in May 2013).
Luther Elliott, Andrew Golub, Eloise Dunlap, and Geoffrey Ream (from the School of Social Work at Adelphi University in New York - working with Special Populations Research) surveyed 3380 adult participants 18-years-old or older who identified themselves as having played one or more hours of gaming in the "last week."
The survey gathered information the amount of time played, games participants played in the past year, and any problems associated with playing. The research team used Gamefaqs.com to sort 2652 titles identified by participants into 15 mutually exclusive genres: "MMORPG, other role-playing, action-adventure, first-person shooter, other shooter, sports general, sports other, rhythm, driving, platformer, real-time strategy, other strategy, puzzle, board and card games, gambling, and other."
Survey results showed that 5 percent of respondents reported "moderate to extreme problem game playing." Of those who admitted "problem gaming habits," the most cited games were first-person shooters, action-adventures, role-playing games, and gambling games during the past year. The most commonly cited games in the problem category included Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, and various poker titles.
"Perhaps the immersion potential of a first-person perspective, commonly combined with online competition, largely accounts for the higher rates of problem game playing," the study claims. "For action-adventure games, a trend towards nonlinear 'open-world' style environments in which extensive, time-consuming exploration is encouraged may create a context for more pervasive experiences of problem game playing."
While researchers admit that the data and their conclusions on it are "speculative at this point," they add that it provides "important avenues of exploration for future research."