RPS Editorial on Panorama Game Addiction Show

Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s John Walker responds to the Panorama TV episode on game addiction (it aired on BBC 1 in the UK last night) with an editorial of his own. While acknowledging that he does not "possess the evidence that gaming does not cause addiction," Walker lays into the Panorama episode and its host for producing a slapdash expose on gaming addiction, leading viewers to conclusions without providing any real evidence.

For example, the show promised to provide details on the secret mechanics that keep gamers "coming back for more," but that secret gaming sauce was never revealed during the program. Likewise, while the host talked a lot about studies that claimed to make a connection between gaming and addiction, no proof was ever provided.

Here is a sample from Walker’s editorial:

"For the first seven minutes of the programme, reporter Raphael Rowe brings us many references to people being “addicts”, people who suffer from “addiction”. It’s stated as fact, unambiguous. Seven minutes in it’s admitted that there’s no evidence that gaming can cause addiction, but long after they’ve made their position completely clear. In fact, it clearly reminded me of that classic Brass Eye moment where DJ Neil Fox explains to camera that there’s no evidence that paedophiles share most of their DNA with crabs, but it’s still scientific fact. Never mind the facts, the data, the proof; we have an agenda here, and we’re going to demonstrate it through unresearched, unevidenced, anecdotal stories."

And here is another about "experts" the show used to make their point:

"Further proof of addiction in games comes from a scientist who has been studying the subject for many yea… oh wait, no, sorry. An artist who takes pictures of kids playing games, and finds that their faces are different when they watch television. No one ventures the notion that there may be physical differences in how one responds to the passive activity of watching TV and the active participation in gaming. But one kid didn’t blink, so there’s danger.

Read the rest here. Maybe someone will take a serious look at the subject.

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