Horrific Gaming Addiction Epidemic Grows As UK Clinic Referrals Pass Over 850, Half Of Which Are Children – FandomWire

Addiction is no laughing matter. It can affect anyone and everyone, young and old, experienced or not. It can affect those who are already mentally weakened and those lucky few with a strong and stable mind. it makes no difference between rich and poor. Addiction is a horrible and widespread disease.

Of course we are all aware of major addictions such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, etc., but no one really discusses the more modern scourges of society, such as gambling addictions. Now, for the record, I’m a gamer, obviously. I spend a lot of my free time playing, discussing, writing or otherwise involved in games in some way. However, as with anything, I know my limits and the importance of a balanced life.

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Unfortunately, as is the case with this study, there are certain gameplay practices and mechanics in today’s games that prey on those people who may not want or have the option for a balanced life/other outlets.

Gaming addiction in modern games

gambling addiction

Gambling addiction is nothing new. Many of us remember as youngsters spending countless hours in front of the TV with our friends, playing the same game over and over while our parents begged us to “go out and play.” However, what is new is the recent implementation over the past decade of so many game mechanics, intentionally designed to prey on those of us with addictive personalities and tendencies.

Obviously I’m talking about microtransactions. More specifically, loot boxes. For the uninitiated, a loot box is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a box full of loot. Unlike game to game, it will generally be a random selection of items over which the player has no control, but which cost in-game currency which can be purchased for real money. The constant promise of an overly rare item/card and the dopamine rush of seeing the packs/boxes open give addicts everything they need to waste their parental paychecks/money/savings.

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One of the biggest culprits is EA Sports’ soon-to-be-renamed FIFA franchiseEA Sport FC. Back in 2009, when the developer introduced the Ultimate Team mode, they also introduced the ability to buy packs which included all sorts of items, the biggest and best being the ultra rare player cards. This has facilitated the mode becoming the central part of everyfifarelease since then, earning astronomical numbers of dollars, far exceeding the actual sales figures of the launch. In the meantime they’ve all but dropped the game’s other modes, resulting in the franchise being considered a “cookie cutter” release every year.

RobloxANDFortnite, both extremely popular with children, they have a huge selection of cosmetics, guns, skins and more, all available in their respective lootboxes and microtransactions. This is, as we are now seeing, slowly breeding a generation of gambling addicts who simply don’t know or cannot stop. This is one reason why there is so much litigation and legal process surrounding the use and implementation of lootboxes in countries around the world.

Gambling addiction causes an increase in the clinic

Roblox

In 2020, the National Center for Gaming Disorders (NCGD) received enough funding to effectively treat 50 patients annually. Three years later, that funding hasn’t changed, but the patient list is currently up to thirty a month as of March of this year. It is an epidemic that will not stop. The current total of patients seen/visited this year has already reached 855, with over a third of those admitting to using/purchasing a loot box during their playtime.

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Between 2021 and 2022, 12% of those who played video games compulsively quotedFortnite, 10% Minecraft8% call of Duty and 4.7% Roblox. If the latter surprises you, it’s because over half of gaming-related cases are under the age of 18.

NCGD founder Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones had this to say about it.

Monetizing gambling via the purchase of loot boxes and advertising such gambling-like features in games is normalizing gambling behaviors in young people.

We need reassurance that protective regulation of these products will be implemented. We need to take online harm seriously.

Countries such as Belgium, Holland, Australia and Spain have already taken legislative action to classify lootboxes and some other microtransactions as gambling, enforcing the restrictions usually attached to adult gambling on games containing these lootboxes. However, many other countries, including the US and the UK, are lagging behind.

gambling addiction

To the decision not to follow Belgium’s lead on loot boxes by denying their classification as a form of gambling, a British government spokesman had this to say about the situation.

It is important to ensure that gamers, especially children, can enjoy video games safely. We are working with the industry to strengthen protections for players and will release an update shortly.

The government’s response to the request for evidence of loot boxes determined that the gaming industry can and should go further to protect children and adults from harm.

The UK government has set up a team to look into the problem with lootboxes and gambling addiction, with reports from that group expected in the coming months. It is unknown if the same is being done in other countries at this time. One can imagine with the multitude of different levels of law in the United States that it would be much more difficult to have any type of action considered or implemented there.

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What do you think about the increase in cases of gambling and gambling addiction? Do you play any games with lootboxes? Are you one of those who suffer from gambling/gambling addiction? Let us know in the comments!

Source: The Guardian

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