ESA and World Health Organization discuss 'gaming disorder' classification

The two organizations have had at least one conversation on the recent 'gaming disorder' classification, though the WHO notes that the chats don't mean it's collaborating with the ESA.

The Entertainment Software Association and the World Health Organization met up last month to discuss the classification of ‘gaming disorder’ as an entry in the International Compendium of Diseases, and have tentative plans to meet up and talk about the classification later this year.

According to Reuters, the ESA brought its grievances with the gaming disorder classification up to WHO representatives in Geneva this past December.

In that conversation, the ESA echoed its earlier concerns that rushing to include a video game-centric addiction disorder in the next revision of the International Compendium of Diseases could lead to “mistakes that could take years to correct” and said that “more conversation and education” is needed before WHO member states adopt the classification.

Reuters goes on to say that the two organizations have tentatively arranged for another conversation on the topic to take place this year, but notes that communication between the two bodies doesn’t necessarily mean that the WHO will reconsider.

The World Health Organization originally announced plans to include and a handful of video game-related disorders to the 11th revision of the ICD back in late 2017, and has since included entries for gaming disorder and hazardous gaming in the finalized draft of the compendium

The diagnostic manual lists gaming disorder alongside addiction-focused entries like gambling disorder and describes it as a pattern of behavior in which persons lack control over their gaming habits and plat to the extent that the activity overtakes their interests, personal life, and wellbeing. Though both entries have already been included in the finalized ICD 11, WHO member states won’t officially start reporting using the diagnostic manual until January 1, 2022.

Since, game industry trade bodies across the globe have voiced concerns about the inclusion and still remains a point of contention as the ESA’s push for a conversation with the World Health Organization has made clear.

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