The Entertainment Software Association has decided to chime in on all the news surrounding the inclusion of video games as a disorder and potential health hazard in the ICD-11 for international diseases in the World Health Organization index.
GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that a spokesperson for the Entertainment Software Association has offered a response to the current drafts of the World Health Organization ICD-11 beta, which lists two new entries for gaming as an addictive disorder and gaming as a health hazard. The spokesperson stated...
The ESA also mentioned that gaming is very closely related to other pastimes, such as sports, where there are also avid fans and consumers of that entertainment venture without those activities being labeled as health hazards or disorders.
Some within the gaming community have taken umbrage with the focus on turning gaming into an internationally labeled disorder because they fear it may further stigmatize and demonize the appearance of video game culture. This also comes at a time where many companies -- such as Blizzard Entertainment, Activision, Sony and others -- are trying to aggressively push eSports off the ground as a global market all its own. It would be rather difficult to attain market spread and saturation in some territories when there's a looming omen overhead from the WHO that classifies gaming as a potential health hazard.
On the other side of the table there are those who are glad that these classifications exist because it means that those who do suffer from gaming addiction can get properly diagnosed and potentially get appropriate help. Some feel that this could help work to establish preventative measures so that cases where individuals literally died by gaming to death in PC cafes can be reduced. However, the cases of gaming to death have been rare.
South Korea already has lots of strict regulations on gaming and a government arm in the form of the Ministry of Culture that has aggressively been working to curb video game addiction in the region.
It's understandable that the ESA would likely be opposed to the inclusion of gaming into the ICD-11 index given that there are worries about what sort of wider implications it could have on the gaming industry as a whole.
However, it should be noted that there is no guarantee that the entries in the current ICD-11 beta draft will make the final cut for the compendium of diseases set to be published in full later on in 2018. It's possible that both entries for video games could be removed, or it's possible that the two entries could get the a-okay from the World Health Organization.