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Games industry trade bodies concerned by 'gaming disorder' classification

A coalition of games industry trade bodies from around the world have questioned the World Health Organization's to list 'gaming disorder' as an addictive condition.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 19, 2018

2 Min Read

A coalition of games industry trade bodies from around the world have questioned the World Health Organizations' (WHO) decision to include 'gaming disorder' in the 11th International Compendium of Diseases (ICD-11). 

The latest version of the compendium classified 'gaming disorder' alongside other addictive conditions, marking the first time a game-related health issue has appeared in the diagnostic manual (which can be viewed online right here). 

Various trade bodies from around the world, including the Entertainment Software Association, have queried the move, and have expressed concern at seeing ‘gaming disorder’ still contained in the latest version of the ICD-11 "despite significant opposition."

"Video games across all kinds of genres, devices and platforms are enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide, with the educational, therapeutic, and recreational value of games being well-founded and widely recognized," reads a statement released by the coalition.

"We are therefore concerned to see 'gaming disorder' still contained in the latest version of the WHO's ICD-11 despite significant opposition from the medical and scientific community. The evidence for its inclusion remains highly contested and inconclusive."

The statement was issued by the European Games Developer Federation, and has been backed by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the Brazilian Union of Video and Games, Interactive Entertainment South Africa, Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Interactive Software Federation of Europe, Korea Association of Game Industry, and the Entertainment Software Association. 

Although 'gaming disorder' has made its way into the current version of the ICD-11, the compendium will only be made official after being endorsed at an executive board meeting and the World Health Assembly in 2019. 

With that in mind, the trade body coalition hopes the WHO will change its stance and pull 'gaming disorder' before the final version of the ICD-11 is set in stone next year.

"We understand that our industry and supporters around the world will continue raising their voices in opposition to this move and urge the WHO to avoid taking steps that would have unjustified implications for national health systems across the world," concludes the statement. 

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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