The game industry braces for tonight's airing of a BBC report expected to examine the concept of video game addiction, focusing on the stories of individuals who point to a negative impact on their lives from gaming.
Information has already emerged on some of what the Panorama program plans to show when it airs tonight at 8:30 GMT, and it seems set to focus on extreme behavior around gaming, such as 21-hour marathon stretches or people who've abandoned school or other duties citing their video game hobby.
The BBC's website presents a clip of a mother
who says she had to disconnect her family's internet because of concern over the excesses of her 19 year-old son's World of Warcraft
Blizzard has already given a statement to the BBC on the portrayal of its game, stating "day-to-day life should always take precedence" over the fun of video games, adding: "World of Warcraft
contains practical tools that assist players and parents in monitoring playing time." The broadcast falls in the same week as Blizzard launches its major Cataclysm
expansion to WoW
UK trade body TIGA says it hasn't seen the documentary yet, but gave a statement to UK media sites like Eurogamer
enforcing that the link between video games and "addiction" in the true medical sense remains unproven: "The World Health Organization has no official medical diagnosis of video games addiction," says TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.
"Playing games is a hobby and people can certainly become passionate about them," Wilson continues. "This is no different from a passion for a particular book, TV program or sport. In addition, playing games such as Wii Sports of Xbox Kinect can improve fitness. Games can also be educational. A fifth of UK games businesses make educational or serious games."