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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MattsworknameWhining about games not haaving enought females, thats foolish, cause if the games are good, then the lead will be well known as a result.see alex vance, she wasn't even the playable lead, but she's so well known cause half life 2 was such an amazing game06/30/2015 - 9:04pm
MattsworknameOn the subject of gaming. Im of the opinion that, its fine if there are more FEMALE leads, but if the game itself isn't good? then your doing a disservice by having a female lead cause they wont get any recognition or attention.06/30/2015 - 9:01pm
Mattsworknameandrew, im not as hyped, without the origional cast, I feel it just won't have the same impact . I'll still give ti a shot, but my expectations are low for it. Its a shame we lost ramis.06/30/2015 - 8:57pm
PHX Corphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIojPUPGhjY IWALVG:GameStop Goes RETRO? Let's Check It Out!06/30/2015 - 8:26pm
Andrew Eisen(Ghostbusters is my favorite movie, if anyone was wondering why I'm so unusually excited for this project.)06/30/2015 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenI am so completely over-the-moon with excitement for the new Ghostbusters movie! It's going to absolutely destroy me if it sucks. Long wait. Fingers crossed!06/30/2015 - 7:00pm
Goth_SkunkAdditionally, the entry really doesn't have much of a point to it. It's just a long, rambling rant akin to what an angsty high-school student would write on their facebook page.06/30/2015 - 6:51pm
MonteAnd most of those viewpoints just so happen to revolve around women and topics that feminists cover, and not actual gaming journalism.06/30/2015 - 6:51pm
Goth_Skunk@DocMelonhead: First off, thanks for using an archive. Second, I would argue that Miss Alexander doesn't know the right women. Given the members of her echo-chamber, I don't find that surprising in the least.06/30/2015 - 6:50pm
Goth_Skunk@Monte: GamerGate does not focus attention on feminists; it focuses its attention on viewpoints it happens to disagree with. The fact that most of those opinions happen to come from radical feminists is a coincidence.06/30/2015 - 6:31pm
Andrew EisenBut hey, we all make bad videos from time to time. I'm certainly not going to hold that single one against her.06/30/2015 - 6:31pm
Andrew EisenAh, okay. I probably don't read their blogs or follow them on Twitter so I've never heard anything they've had to say. The only thing I know about Sommers is the video we reported on a while back and I certainly wouldn't classify that as scholarly!06/30/2015 - 6:30pm
Goth_SkunkAlso, "junior campus feminist" is a young (late teens to late 20's, hence "junior") college student radical activist (see Emma Sulkowicz as an example). This, as opposed to a more mature, scholarly feminist like Sommers.06/30/2015 - 6:24pm
Andrew EisenNo, because "feminisim" isn't a group. There are feminist groups with leaders though.06/30/2015 - 6:23pm
Goth_SkunkDoes Feminism have a leader?06/30/2015 - 6:19pm
Andrew EisenWell, maybe the SPJ Airplay discussion will be just what everyone needed and we'll all live happily ever after!06/30/2015 - 6:16pm
MonteFrankly, for those in it for jounalism, the best thnig they can do is forget GG and find a new Tag. By using GG theybring with themselves all of the baggage that comes with it, and thus no one listens to them. They voices would go farthar without trolls06/30/2015 - 6:12pm
MonteThing is with internaet movements, their is no leadership or membership which means ANYONE can define it and use it as they please. No one member gets to sayhis version is right and everyone else is wrong because his claim is just as valid as theirs06/30/2015 - 6:10pm
MonteGamergate's menaing varies from person to person. Some pretty much allign it with MRA's. Other's do it because they want to defend developers from feminists who criticize their work. This has nothing to do with journalism but gets the Tag anyway06/30/2015 - 6:08pm
DocMelonheadGoth, Take a look at this: It's old, but got a point form the "Gamers are Over" blogger herself: https://web.archive.org/web/20150530072314/http://boingboing.net/2015/05/29/all-the-women-i-know-in-video.html06/30/2015 - 6:08pm
 

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