The ESA has issued a statement where they argue that classifying gaming as a mental disorder trivializes serious mental disorder.
It was only recently revealed that the World Health Organization is planning to officially recognize gaming addiction as a mental disorder. The problem may then gain official recognition by being included in the list of International Classification of Diseases for 2018. Now, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has spoken out against this decision and encourages the WHO to reconsider its decision.
In their statement about the issue, ESA states that this move trivializes real and more serious mental disorders such as depression. They note the two billion people around the world who enjoy video games. They then go on to state “The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the World Health Organization to reverse direction on its proposed action.”
It is certainly possible that revisions may be made to the list before its final publication in mid 2018. The debate regarding gaming addiction has been ongoing for a long time now and the decision taken by the WHO could have serious implications. It remains to be seen if ESA’s please for reconsideration will be taken into account at all and if it will affect the eventual outcome.