Industry figures question research that ‘pathologises’ compulsive gaming, while scientist involved defends move to address addiction

The World Health Organization (WHO) has included “gaming disorder” in its draft for the next edition of its diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which is due for final release this year. The disorder is characterised by behaviours such as impaired control of time spent playing video games and prioritisation of gaming above other activities, in a way that negatively affects other areas of a person’s life such as their education, occupation and relationships.

Games industry bodies the US Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) have expressed doubts about the classification. “We are very concerned about the inconclusive nature of the research and the evidence that WHO is using to base this potential classification on,” says Ukie’s chief executive, Jo Twist.

There is a small minority of people out there where gaming has completely taken over their lives

You have to look at pre-existing mental health disorders. This is risking misdiagnosing of other underlying issues

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".