"MMO Addiction": Real or Imaginary?

It seems as if everywhere we turn, someone has a problem with video games these days. We take a look at one of the reasons, "MMO Addiction".

It seems as if everywhere we turn, someone has a problem with video games these days. Even the President of the United States, it appears. Addressing the American Medical Association last week, President Barack Obama outlined a series of "preventative care" issues deemed important to modern health care reform. Limiting the amount of time that kids spend playing video games is a small part of that plan. "The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place," Obama said at the press conference, referring to his reform plan. "That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. […] It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside."

Sure, it's not exactly a defining topic of the speech, or even a full paragraph's worth. But it does indicate—at the very least—that modern video game culture has the attention of the Obama administration, in some capacity. It doesn't read like a "call to arms" against video games as a whole. More so, it seems as if the administration is urging the AMA to recognize video games as a potential "health hazard" (if only in the sense of physical fitness and mental well-being). The question remains: "Does the government believe video games—including MMOs—pose a risk to public health?"

It's tough to ignore the ongoing media trend of reporting video games in a negative light, or slanted with a "public safety hazard" angle. Just consider the "obscenity factor" alone: throughout the past decade, US Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CN) has spearheaded campaigns (like the Communications Decency Act) opposing sex and violence in video games, commonly voting on bills and regulatory acts related to the sale of such games. He was one of the chief proponents behind the Family Entertainment Protection Act, a bill that enforces strict compliance regarding sales of ESRB-rated video games to minors. More recently, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown (D) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a law that would ban the sale of "violent" or "obscene" video games to children under 18. The law was originally drafted in 2005 by everyone's favorite "Governator", California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) (the law was eventually shot down by the state courts, considering it unconstitutional). Brown petitioned the court last month to overturn that ruling, which would make it illegal for minors to buy "M-Rated" games (like Call of Duty: World at War, Halo 3 and Resident Evil 5).

That particular law might not seem like much of a threat to the MMO genre, since the majority of publishers avoid an "M" rating in an effort to make their games accessible to teens and children. But you've probably noticed the popular disclaimer seen on many ESRB rating tags, usually offering something like "Does not apply to online gameplay." What happens if ESRB ratings eventually become mandatory rather than voluntary, and "online gameplay" suddenly requires an "M" rating?

The law that Brown's pushing in California would then ban the sale of any video game (MMO or otherwise) to kids under 18. The law could even prohibit people under 18 from becoming paying subscribers, even if it was okay with their parents.

That kind of future-forecasting begins approaching the "slippery slope" area of speculation, so it's difficult to make informed "guesstimates" until the situation unfolds. On one hand, there's the mighty shield of the First Amendment which has been used to fend off glancing blows aimed at the video game industry in the past. But, despite our freedom of speech and all the liberties it provides, sometimes the "threat to public health" (perceived or otherwise) isn't always one of them.

You've probably read about all the MMO horror stories circulating the news sites and blogs, or heard about them from your friends. These days, it's almost impossible to avoid them—they've practically reached the status of Internet "meme."

Reports of gaming-related deaths have steadily trickled in throughout the past decade; stories of teens and adults literally playing themselves to death, like the guy who died of a heart attack toward the end of a 50-hour Starcraft binge, or the girl (known in-game as "Snowly") who died while playing World of Warcraft for three consecutive days over a Chinese holiday. There are at least a dozen or more reports of people succumbing to "video-game addiction"—playing for hours or days at a time, ultimately succumbing to an untimely death (usually attributed to heart failure or malnourishment-related complications). There's even a South Korean couple who were arrested after coming home to find their 4-month-old daughter dead from suffocation, after they left her alone for hours to play WoW at an Internet café.

With stories like these, it's not that hard to understand why thousands of parents and teachers around the world are suddenly becoming more aware of MMOs than ever before (and, obviously, this newfound awareness isn't exactly painting our favorite games in a positive light). But are MMOs really "killing" people? Or are reports like these circumstantial at best—and downright lies at the worst?

A substantial number of these reports come from Chinese news agencies, leaving their validity a topic of debate among news analysts. They argue that the Chinese government has released fictitious news stories in the past, using propaganda to further the communist régime. That's a pretty extreme example of a government "waging war" against MMOs, and it's one that can't be entirely verified yet.

There are less extreme arguments being waged against the "MMO addiction" concept than that of death. A newer trend emerging in mainstream media is stories citing researchers and studies that associate problems like lack of family and social life, poor fitness and declining school/college grades as symptoms of MMO addiction.

A few months ago, the FCC announced that MMO addiction is a serious problem facing teens and young adults. Former FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate introduced the notion during a speech last year, claiming "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction—such as World of Warcraft—which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide." The FCC backs up its claims with reports indicating a substantial number of college kids' grades are failing—or they're dropping out completely—after getting hooked on WoW and abandoning other priorities.

When that particular story broke, my own personal reaction was to shake my head, sigh and dismiss it as another knee-jerk reaction made by an older generation that fears what it doesn't understand. I mean, seriously…video games like WoW are causing kids to drop out of college like flies hitting a bug zapper? Tooling around the Barrens chat and making Chuck Norris jokes is what's causing our children's grades to drop from A's and B's to F's? But then I recalled my own high school and college gaming days, and it made me wonder.

As longtime gamer, I remember years of coming straight home after high school, seething with anticipation to open up Doom on my old 166 MHz PC. Connecting to a couple of friends via dial-up modem and playing for hours until bedtime, homework was often the last thing from my mind. I also had similar experiences in college; usually during those cold and bleak winter months, when cuddling up with a video game just seemed much more enticing than hitting the books. Sure, I got a C in Biology…but I leveled my Warlock pretty damn quick!

The point I'm trying to make is what we, as gamers, would probably call this concept "tunnel vision" or "being in the zone," rather than "MMO addiction." Regardless of who calls what concept what, it's something that the media, parents and teachers are all paying a lot more attention to than they were a few years ago.

Their argument is that when gamers—kids and adults alike—become "hooked" on an MMO, there's a possibility they'll begin neglecting their friends and family, schoolwork, career and even their own health. Whereas Tate and the FCC pretty much subscribe to all the tenets of that premise, it seems that the president's speech to the AMA was focused more on just physical fitness. Ironically though, the AMA itself conducted a study a few years ago trying to learn if MMOs are indeed as "addictive" as many opponents claim. The study failed to discover any substantial causality between MMOs and addiction (albeit in the most traditional ideas of addiction, such as compared with drug usage).

But for every study like the AMA's, it seems like there are always a couple new ones popping up every month to take its place. The FCC and organizations with similar viewpoints cite a variety of studies that have found causality between MMOs and addictive behavior. Another popular argument made by critics is that MMO companies are using "shady" tactics in the development of their games, specifically designed to keep subscribers hooked.

Most of these arguments stem from the fact that Blizzard (among other developers) has been known to consult with Las Vegas casino industry professionals during early development. The consultants are experts in the gambling trade, having spent years studying the "art" of casinos (the most effective ways to keep people spending money on their games, while enjoying every minute of it). Many of the same strategies are converted and applied to development stages of MMOs (including World of Warcraft), designed to maximize the delicate balance between effort and reward; giving you just enough of a "reward" for a certain amount of time and effort, yet never handing out so much as to fully satisfy.

Still, despite the tactics developers use to maximize customer retention, aren't they entitled to those tactics as long as they're not breaking the law? Especially when it's a quality game that's actually fun to play? It's not as if we're being bombarded with subliminal messages, or some crazy, conspiracy-like "brain-altering wave patterns through the wi-fi," right? As most proponents will argue, no one's actually forcing you to play a game.

It's probably more likely (as the aforementioned AMA report suggests) that a minority of people suffer from a compulsive addiction to MMOs. That minority of people—often with addictive tendencies—may face a greater chance of "falling prey" to an MMO addiction (as with many other vices in life, like drinking or gambling).

But the question still remains as to whether or not the concept of "MMO addiction" is real, or if it's just a case of obsessive-compulsive kids and teenagers who don't have the self-control (or parental oversight) to know when to quit. If the problem were limited to just kids and teens, I'd have an easier time closing the book with that theory. As some of those above-mentioned studies suggest, though—it's not just kids who have problems with MMOs.

Many of them purport that adults are washing out of college or losing their jobs because they couldn't control the balance between the MMO and "real life." Probably the most extreme of them all, this infamous news story calls World of Warcraft more addictive than crack cocaine. With headlines like that, it's pretty tough for anyone genuinely researching the topic to take it seriously.

But right as you're about to shut the book on the whole thing and chalk it up as absolute lunacy, there's the increasing emergence of MMO and video game "rehab" programs popping up all over the world. Mostly originating in Asia and just recently making their way to the Western world, we're starting to see everything from MMO support groups to "Boot Camp for Gamers." At the very least (and because most of these programs are voluntary), it proves there are a number of people who really consider themselves MMO addicts, and admit to having suffered because of their addiction.

Does this represent a miniscule amount of the MMO population, or are they merely a small sample of a much larger group of gamers who haven't yet come to terms with their problem? It's probably too early to tell. Regardless, it seems like the political storm surrounding MMOs is nowhere near dissipating. A line is being drawn in the sand, and if you—not just as an activist, but as a gamer—want to have any influence in the ongoing battle, now would be the time to speak up.

Josh "WaxPaper" Bashara
Editor
ZAM.com

Comments

« Previous 1 2
Post Comment
Addiction is a state of mind
# Mar 30 2010 at 12:43 AM Rating: Decent
1 post
Addiction unless you are talking about heroin or another physically dependent drug is all an invention of todays responsibility free society. Addiction is simply a lack of self control. People want to make up names like Alcoholic and drug addict or overeater but in the end it is the person who is the problem not the vice. Those addictions are interchangeable someone who is addicted to alcohol will easily be addicted to drugs or food or video games, it is called an addictive nature. And now instead of fighting the real problem our all knowing <pukes> government will run off and once again fight the wrong enemy. Just like gun control critics used to say Guns don't kill people, video games don't play themselves and while their our those nutcases out there that neglect their kids and life for video games for every player like that their are 500 like me that play when we are bored and still live a perfectly normal life.
Really?
# Jul 02 2009 at 11:46 AM Rating: Decent
3 posts
Before I got serious about college (spent a few years figuring out what I wanted to do with my life) I was a five year vet of FFXI. I've known many players who spend hours and hours playing FF, but for the majority of them, I would not call them addicts. Many of them have very active social lives, are involved in "outside" activities and do not neglect their families or friends. Addiction comes to those who are susceptible to it because there's something missing in their life. They fill the void with games. If they didn't do it with games, they'd just do it with something else. These people need help, and not just with "gaming addiction." They have serious problems that go beyond video games. So stop blaming these issues on games and place them where they belong.

One final word. . . We can help break this stigma by organizing in game. When I return to FFXI (perhaps shortly after graduation soon) I'm going to organize a linkshell for players who cannot play very often, say only once or twice a week. If you're in the same boat, come join up with me on FF or start your own "clan" or linkshell on which ever MMO you play. Within communities that accepts a slower, more realistic pace, there's no pressure to give up time in the real world for time in our fantasy lands >.> If you have more time to play, help out those who don't by choosing a toon or job that you can level only with those who can't play as often. I think simple gestures like this will help keep players from feeling like they have to play instead of enjoying life.

Thanks!

Vila
tldr
# Jun 29 2009 at 2:16 PM Rating: Decent
*
119 posts
Not reading this thread.

Just saying, we do spend most of our time in a fantasy world, and we enjoy it more than not.
____________________________
Dreyvin:
75 Monk [back in action]
Ragnarok
What ya gotta understand
# Jun 27 2009 at 5:48 AM Rating: Decent
Is that millions and millions of people are playing MMO's. people like law makers teachers parents etc etc and others should realize that your going to hear more stories about people dying BECAUSE so many of them play these games.. its not a growing trend to see people addicted or dying it is just the way it is. the more people involved in anything raises the amount of idiots that take it too far. My example would be this: Scientists and what not say that we are seeing more earthquakes volcano eruptions and natural disasters, which makes you think the world is going to end or something, but the thing of it is now there are more people around populating the earth spreading so naturally there is going to be more reports of things of that nature and the same goes for this ladies and gentlemen.

Edited, Jun 27th 2009 9:52am by lordcool
Addiction test method
# Jun 25 2009 at 6:52 PM Rating: Default
Scholar
Avatar
**
600 posts
Here is a simple test for addiction... "quit".
____________________________

Quote:
Fiddle Faddle!

Addiction test method
# Jun 26 2009 at 11:26 PM Rating: Excellent
*
93 posts
Actually, whether you were being factious or not, you're 100 percent right.

Trying to objectively measure your reaction to quitting your favorite MMO for a month is probably one of the most effective ways that someone could find out whether or not they're "addicted." This probably doesn't apply to younger people as much, because every teenager with raging hormones and obsessive-compulsive tendencies would tend to flip out when they're denied anything that they regularly enjoy.

As someone else mentioned, "server downtime" is also a good (yet shorter-term) test of one's "addiction." Sometimes I can't believe many of the comments I read when server downtime is announced in blogs or forums; people saying that their "whole afternoon is shot" or that they're bored because they can't find anything to do until servers come back up. I mean, my God...if you're that dependent on an MMO as an integral part of your life...I just dunno.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not calling everyone that hates server downtime "addicts." There have been plenty of times when I really wanted to play for some reason or another, and was extremely annoyed that I couldn't get online to satiate that particular urge. I'm referring more to the extreme side; for example, when someone dreads Tuesday mornings because WoW will sometimes be down for hours.
____________________________
...because I'm so hella smoooooth.
lol
# Jun 25 2009 at 1:41 PM Rating: Default
3 posts
I find it funny he is talking about health and taking care of our selves then he probably went outside after the speech and lite up a ciggy... hypocrite
mmo breakdown
# Jun 25 2009 at 10:05 AM Rating: Decent
***
1,067 posts
mmo breakdown
# Jun 26 2009 at 11:30 PM Rating: Excellent
*
93 posts
Reminds me of that Unreal Tournament "screaming German kid" video.

This one feels a bit staged though. Or maybe I'm just naive. Either way, pretty funny.
____________________________
...because I'm so hella smoooooth.
mmo breakdown
# Jun 25 2009 at 10:05 PM Rating: Decent
Thief's Knife
*****
15,054 posts
iknoweverything wrote:


Broken link
____________________________
Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
mmo breakdown
# Jun 26 2009 at 9:26 AM Rating: Decent
***
1,067 posts
o.O still works for me ????
I was out of control.
# Jun 25 2009 at 4:31 AM Rating: Good
Scholar
26 posts
I played EQ from 2000-2004, I didnt do much else, I would spend 70 hours a week in-game on top of working 40 hours.

Non MMO player friends of mine were concerned, I quit my job, got hella broke, got bored of being hungry, reevaluated my priorities, and stopped my "addictive" level of MMO playing.

I truly believe you can only become "addicted" to your first MMO, It took me quitting for awhile (2 months) to realize that my character was nothing more than a spreadsheet on a server, and it DID NOT MATTER A **** if I just went to sleep instead of grinding out those last 56 AA... Tomorrow was fine.

Now, I am happy with my life, I have an income, I'm healthy, I play MMO's (maybe 40 hrs a week) I still poo all over everyone else in progression.

I believe if you define addiction as; aggressively pursuing something to the point that you are harming yourself, then yes you can become addicted to MMO's... Just like Work, Xbox live, Sports etc.


WoW's ONLY service to the genre (I HATE WoW) is making it solo progression friendly, MMO addiction isnt the problem in solo friendly games with 20 min long raids like WoW, In my awesome opinion the answer to this is to give games with EQ style content such as 20 hour PoHate raids and 72 hour static AA groups in Nadox, where you dont sleep, just pull-pull-pull R18.

Thanks for reading.

Edited, Jun 25th 2009 8:37am by rsjabber
Its coming...
# Jun 24 2009 at 8:55 PM Rating: Decent
*
114 posts
I can already see us getting the time regulation they have in either China or N. Korea (I forget which it is) where your automatically booted from an MMO after so many hours of playing. The day that items, I go to DC to do something not nice.
____________________________
Just a guy that loves adventure.
Its coming...
# Jun 24 2009 at 11:51 PM Rating: Decent
9 posts
Quote:
I can already see us getting the time regulation they have in either China or N. Korea (I forget which it is) where your automatically booted from an MMO after so many hours of playing.


It's definitely China, the law was that you would be booted after 3 hours of play from any mmo. They have since changed the law to only affect those under the age of 18.
But I agree, if they even hint at trying some law like that in this country I'd hope that it wouldn't even make it past the idea phase.
Its coming...
# Jun 25 2009 at 10:11 PM Rating: Decent
Thief's Knife
*****
15,054 posts
daijooky wrote:
Quote:
I can already see us getting the time regulation they have in either China or N. Korea (I forget which it is) where your automatically booted from an MMO after so many hours of playing.


It's definitely China, the law was that you would be booted after 3 hours of play from any mmo. They have since changed the law to only affect those under the age of 18.
But I agree, if they even hint at trying some law like that in this country I'd hope that it wouldn't even make it past the idea phase.


You'd be surprised at what they can pull when the public isn't looking. In Britain they made it illegal to look at "extreme pornography" online with up to 2 years of jail time for viewing such images.

Denmark and Australia already have national IP blacklists. More concerning, Australia has started blacklisting sites related to discussing internet censorship.
____________________________
Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
World of Fatcraft
# Jun 24 2009 at 6:54 PM Rating: Default
Avatar
*
187 posts
As soon as any new regulations are put into law, this will open up a ton of lawsuits in the USA; the litigation nation! I can see it now: Grossly fat Mom and Dad will sue Blizzard for making special Timmy fat and diabetic. Of course it's not the parents fault for not encouraging Timmy to go outside, put down the twinkie and coca~cola, it's Blizzards fault for sucking Timmy into it's World of Fatcraft. After all, they are strongly advertising to kids like cigarette companies did in the past correct?

Has the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issues with Iran and N. Korea, the current economy and loss of jobs in the USA been fixed? I mean for them to actually worry about how much special Timmy is playing video games, one would think all the real problems have been addressed and fixed right? /roll

On the addiction side: Anything that causes pleasure can become additive depending on the persons "addictive personality": ***, drugs, fetishes, food and even roller coasters can become addictive. Read the WoW boards on Tuesday and you will see posts from people that are showing what seems to be withdrawl symptoms. My favorite was a few weeks ago when many realms were down all day long. One poster said: "Thanks a lot Blizzard for ruining another day!" Hmmmmmm, so Blizzard has the power to ruin a persons day? Kind of like when the crack dealer fails to show up! I'd imagine people have the same feeling about a whole day being ruined because they couldn't get their fix from an addictive substance?

Parents and WoW: It's your job to regulate what your kiddies do on and offline. It's your job to figure out if Timmy is mature enough to play a game or watch an "R" rated movie. It's your job to figure out if Timmy is to immature and not to be able to play a game or watch an "R" rated movie. Do you really want even more government intervention in your lives?

Adults and WoW: Self control! It's a game for Christ sake. You're an adult, you're supposed to know this kind of stuff. If you don't understand this, please shoot yourself now and save us all the trouble of supporting your obese *** in the form of unpaid medical bills and disability checks.
____________________________
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
MMO Addiction
# Jun 24 2009 at 6:44 PM Rating: Default
Scholar
**
784 posts
I Have played for 14 hours strait... but thats one day a week one time.

I work 6a-2p, then 2nd job 5-10p. come home play for a couple hours 2-3 times a week then take weekends and choose a day to play for 3+ hours.

Other nights and weekend days i spend with my wife n twin girls, and have my own "Non-Profit" home buisness that can take up a couple hours a week and occasionally weekend nights out on promotion.

Obviouly not the role of an endgamer but i get by, and still no COP done if u can imagine why...

How many Hours a week makes you an adict? I Play 8-12 hours a week.

Yet my wife and mother still wanna call me an addict and it makes me mad. I live my life to the absolute fullest and wanna make enough so i can knock off a job or 2 to have more time for me. Why does it have to be an adict cause i need to escaspe this busy *** life i have. "All work n No Play Makes Nih a Dull boy" and then they're in for a world of hurt.

How is that any different than a man who comes home after 60-70 hour work week grabs a 12 pack and vegges on some football all weekend. Same thing in my head, But id say MMO have the one up... YOU STILL Socialize.

I say yes it can be a problem and it can be habbit forming but so can ***...lets ban that too, then what the 3 sea shells, and Rob Schinder laughing at you?

Edited, Jun 24th 2009 10:46pm by Nihcru
____________________________
Nihcru @ Bahamut
PLD 75
/Salute...
The sword held high with virtue and might,
A Shield in hand protecting what's right,
Through Darkest night may valor shine bright,
May Goddess Altana bless you with her light.
MMO Addiction
# Jun 25 2009 at 9:16 AM Rating: Decent
*
212 posts
Nichru,

Yea i kinda understand where you are coming from. So many of us work so many long hours, that having any freetime/ leisure time seems like the most important thing to do. in alot of cases.

Being able to choose exactly what we want to do in that Leisure time is like the greatest reward. Most of my family members done understand why I play. ****, my wife even asks me how I can stand to play even after playing it for 6.

Yea its not an addiction, its just something i like to do a few hours out of the week if I have time. I go running 2.5-3 miles Monday through Friday, I exercise. I also work 45+ hours in a week. My work day starts from when I walk out the door at 8am and enter the door at 7pm. But even then, seeing how im in the games industry, I have to work after hours.

The way I make things work with my wife: I compromise, which is what most people in relationships do. I play FF or whatever game. But then I pick a few days to go, watch or do whatever she wants. Usually when I play she sits next to me and reads a book or does her cross stitching. Overall she doesn't mind too much about my playing time. Maybe im just lucky...

Youll just have to find a middle ground with your family.

PS. i hate to bring up a sour topic, but no matter what you do, you'll never be able to spend time doing things on your own without making the wife feel like you are neglecting her, unless you give her more time with you with no distractions. We are all selfish in one way or another. We just have to figure out a way to work that in favor of our partners and family.
____________________________
Keiyoshi **77PLD>** <80SAM> <51THF> <50RNG> <40WAR> <40BLU> <42RDM> <42WHM> <42NIN> <41BLM> <52MNK> <76PUP>. <43BST> <25COR> <76SMN> <39DNC> <SCH38>
Zilart- completed
CoP- completed
Toau- completed
WoTg- (Sandy nation)- in progress
ACP- completed
MKD- completed
ASA- completed
Kayle is no more....
To quit before you start would make the start of something poor. Your only as good as the effort you put in.
MMO Addiction
# Jun 25 2009 at 12:16 AM Rating: Good
*
89 posts
Congratulations!!! You are not addicted! You don't get the twitches or prickle palms when you're away from the keyboard for more than 3 hours! Heck if you didn't play MMORPGS at all you'd be almost *gasp* "normal".

But to tell the truth you are most likely like me. A casual player of the game rather than a ****-bent obsessive that must have all the shiny in the game. As such, you are not "something that has no life." Congratulations on being another anomaly. ^.^

____________________________
AIM:MakaiLakshmi
Characters current status: Active - Casual
Makai (Elvaan) Level 75 White Mage/Black Mage
rank 10 san D'oria
Fati (Hume) Level 53 Red Mage/White Mage
rank 5 bastok
Nyvissa (Mithra) Level 49 Red Mage/Warrior
rank 5 windurst
MMO Addiction
# Jun 25 2009 at 12:50 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
*
104 posts
Thank you Makai!!

The common mis-use of "addiction" to refer to compulsions and other habituated behavior does not make it accurate. Medical dictionary defines addiction as:

"Compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal"

If you visit the Mayo CLinic web site you will find a searchable database for laymen. If you ask it for "Drug addiction" you will find yourself at an article named "Drug addiction." If you ask it for "Gambling Addiction" you will find yourself at an article named "Compulsive Gambling." Addiction is physical. Misusing the word to represent compulsions and other psychological beahviors does not make it so.
Addiction or Just wanting someone to blame?
# Jun 24 2009 at 4:57 PM Rating: Good
1 post
As someone who has grown up playing all types of video games from the first system on the Atari to the Com64. To my first computer to my current. All things in moderation is the key to being healthy in the first place. Its not fair to blame just video games for the decline in the health of children.

We can blame diet and lack of exercise as well. Given that most people can not afford to feed their children decent healthy food everyday. Instead we live in a world of processed, pre-packaged crap. Its up to parents to motivate their children to do something besides sit and play video games. Trying to limit the amount they play to an hour or two a day. Or to the same amount they spend outside doing something else. Isnt it better and safer to have your kids playing video games then in gangs or doing drugs? Isnt it better that they might learn something educational, have improved hand eye cordnation and possibly learn to type with more then two fingers? All those things can be helped by playing video games.

:P Just because some people play for hrs doesnt mean we arent health, that we are all the ulimate couch potato. That we all have 3 seat butts. Its not fair to judge the masses for the problems of the few.

Edited, Jun 24th 2009 8:58pm by Pinkrose
yeah right.
# Jun 24 2009 at 3:01 PM Rating: Excellent
Thief's Knife
*****
15,054 posts
Watch 8 hours of TV a day and nobody cares but play an MMO for 8 hours a day and suddenly you are an "addict"

I wonder how many of these studies are being funded by the entertainment industry. They are absolutely terrified of anything that might pull people away from the latest garbage then put on TV. If that happened they might have to start making quality programming again.
____________________________
Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
yeah right.
# Jun 25 2009 at 1:20 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
**
381 posts
Lobivopis wrote:
Watch 8 hours of TV a day and nobody cares but play an MMO for 8 hours a day and suddenly you are an "addict"

I wonder how many of these studies are being funded by the entertainment industry. They are absolutely terrified of anything that might pull people away from the latest garbage then put on TV. If that happened they might have to start making quality programming again.


QFT

I'm appalled at how many people go out there way to harass someone who plays an online videogame for a few hours here and there, but turn a blind eye to TV use (or even worse, use it as a babysitter for their children!).

IMHO, excessive TV watching is an addiction worse than online gaming. TV influences adults and children, and often not in a good way. For every addicted MMORPG player who games more than a few hours a day, there are literally thousands of people who have a TV on in their house every waking hour. Even worse, there are people who consider you socially stunted because you didn't watch XYZ program last night like everyone else did.
Addicted
# Jun 24 2009 at 2:07 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
**
828 posts
I dunno if i'm addicted or not lol. i tend to think yeah i am, i play it alot sometimes to much, been known to call in sick once or twice in order to be around for a nms window or something similar and been known to sit up to stupid o clock in my determination to ding a level. so yeah looking at these i'm addicted.

on the other hand though. i've kept my job, kept my frieds, kept a relationship with my fiancee. and have no problems if i dont log in and play for weeks at a time. it's rarely a problem for me to log off if my partner or friends want to go somewhere or do something. sure theres times where i'll be in the middle of a mission / boss fight / ksnm run or something so i'll finish that first but thats no different to being in the middle of washing my car or cooking me lunch. so yeah maybe im not addicted like i think as life > ff.

it's complex though. i know ppl who wont do anything cos of ff. few old college friends never come out with the guys when we go out to the pub, cinema, bowling whatever. they'd rather stay home and lfp. i look at them and think gees by comparison theres no way i'm addicted, but then i look at my play time 170 days in 3 years thats almost 6 months!!!!!! gotta be addicted. confusing huh...

to me though i think it's primarily cheap entertainment. not much else that can keep you occupied for a month that only cost ya a tenner. while i'll nearly always stop playing to do something with friends/partner whatever theres times where i "just need to do this"
____________________________


lose lose
# Jun 24 2009 at 1:55 PM Rating: Excellent
***
3,144 posts
There isnt pleasing anyone.

Stand outside on street corners and you are told to dispurse and move along.

Stay inside play MMORPGs and stand on street corners and you have people trying to make you go outside.

Its a Lose Lose situation.
____________________________
75BLM 75PLD 75RDM 75WAR 75MNK 75NIN 75THF 75SAM 75BRD 75RNG 75DRK 75SMN, 75DRG 75DNC 75WHM 75COR 75BST 75BLU 75PUP 75SCH - # of summoner burns = 0

http://sizedd.freeforums.org/

Quote a few months before the mass salvage banning:
couerlmaster wrote:
And stfu with the banstick, this is hardly traceable and so widespread throughout the EG community there's nothing SE can do w/o banning half the EG community on every server


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0O8qb58bHY
Failing at Life
# Jun 24 2009 at 1:44 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
**
747 posts
I love MMO's or good games of any kind that can keep me enamored for a long enough period of time and actual keep me wanting to play it. Why? Because it's fun, WAY more fun than paying bills, cleaning house, doing homework, or going to work.... BECAUSE IT'S A GAME!!!

It's supposed to be fun, it's supposed to make you want to play it. Whatever happens to you because you chose to play a game, regardless of the genre, is completely YOUR FAULT, no matter how old you are. Yes you may have been raised wrong but you're still a living, breathing free-willed human being... don't blame society, parenting, or friends for anything you do... if you do it, read that statement again real fast, YOU DID IT, not anyone else...YOU!

And towards the person saying they'd rather have their kid inside playing a video game rather than outside socializing... and I'm saying this as a parent as well... what exactly are you keeping your child from doing/ experiencing? Being a kid, socializing, playing, having fun and getting in to trouble is part of growing up and learning about society, if you don't let them do that they won't know how to deal in the real world because video games, whether experienced alone, with a friend, or online are not the real world and therefore cannot not teach or instill the knowledge of what it's like. They can teach you INFORMATION not EXPERIENCES.
____________________________
Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
I play WOW
# Jun 24 2009 at 12:26 PM Rating: Excellent
1 post
ive always been intrigued by the whole debate about MMO's. i had been an avid warcraft fan before it became WOW and was inlove with it. i have been a long time gamer and as far as i can remember, gaming has always been a part of my entertainment. and i knew i would definately get hooked on WOW if i ever did play it, so i avoided it for years. not ont Wotlk came out that my girlfreind bought it for me for my bday. and boy was that a mistake. within days i was hooked, and now i am beginning to see what the problem may be with it. where as i could log onto halo play a few death matches and be done with it in an hr, i just simply cant do that with WOW. and i would imagine with any other MMO. simply because it isnt meant to be played in small quantities. it requires dedication. and as a small business owner, and generally working class guy, i find myself falling behind in alot of aspects that i should very easily be able to accomplish, because i have to get that epic mount, or gotta collect enough emblems for that sweet offhand. i am currently cutting back on my time playing WOW, just so i can sort of reemerge into the social scene that i have let flounder for a while. all in all, i think we simply need to balance our lives...its a little harder for some i guess.
FFXI sucks - WoW wins!
# Jun 24 2009 at 12:14 PM Rating: Default
**
611 posts
Quote:
Most of these arguments stem from the fact that Blizzard (among other developers) has been known to consult with Las Vegas casino industry professionals during early development.


Whilst I cant deny that Blizzard consulted Vegas in early development (neither can I create an article that states it as a FACT) - I dont see it mentioned in the linked article.

Can you link (or remove) the mention that Blizzard consulted Vegas in early development of games...or face a libel - up to you.

(EDIT: I have sent an email to the author directly to address this aswell)




Edited, Jun 25th 2009 12:35pm by Abbottone
FFXI sucks - WoW wins!
# Jun 24 2009 at 12:03 PM Rating: Good
**
611 posts
The trouble with coming up with a sensible playtime is there are people out there that are addicted and those who play the same amount of time that are merely filling a gap in their lives.

Saying that, game makers like Blizzard which get the most publicity are actually the more protective of its players, their corporate responsibility is excellent. Game makers like Square dont deserve to have a licence to trade, they'd happily send Garry Glitter in to be your nanny/au pair as long as they received cash upfront.

Any game that considers grind (extending the life of the game) as a norm needs to be shutdown. FFXI should be made an example of.






MMORPG are a disease
# Jun 24 2009 at 10:14 AM Rating: Decent
Though i see that offline games as a normal entertainment and parents can control abuses like 8h+ a day i see MMORPG as a disease nowadays.

They were created for people with severe social problems that would rather run away from their problems and stay sitting in a chair 16 hours looking at their virtual self. That's why WOW is the most famous of all MMORPG. Its the smartest one that allows people to be casual and have their lives besides the game.

But games like Final Fantasy XI and mainly asian MMORPGs are created to use people weakness in social skills into addicting them for a hero they can never be, forever. Some even try just to be normal in Online games as their life is full of problems.

Though you might find "normal" people that have their jobs, families etc, most of them are under depression, use drugs, have extremely poor social relationships or all these together. Games that force you to stay online "caming a NM" 21h like Final Fantasy does, is in my opinion one of the most severe drugs in the market.

Im one of those addicted. How many tried to quit FFXI forever and never managed to do so because they still have something they must do in this game? Or friends they dont have in real life but they have in there?

Edited, Jun 24th 2009 2:17pm by MclarenTAGPorsche
MMORPG are a disease
# Jun 24 2009 at 11:59 PM Rating: Good
*
89 posts
Quote:
Though i see that offline games as a normal entertainment and parents can control abuses like 8h+ a day i see MMORPG as a disease nowadays.

They were created for people with severe social problems that would rather run away from their problems and stay sitting in a chair 16 hours looking at their virtual self. That's why WOW is the most famous of all MMORPG. Its the smartest one that allows people to be casual and have their lives besides the game.


I disagree. While some may think MMORPGS to have been created for the socially challenged, it's actually only a small percentage of players that really *Are* "socially challenged". And unfortunately I will never play WoW because I know too many losers in real life that play it already. (I'm not joking, I can send you to a website with pictures!!!)
Aqua Text

Quote:
But games like Final Fantasy XI and mainly asian MMORPGs are created to use people weakness in social skills into addicting them for a hero they can never be, forever. Some even try just to be normal in Online games as their life is full of problems.


Your problem with FFXI must be that it is a Japanese game. Let me explain why FFXI is problematic for some Western players. First Final Fantasy is deeply rooted in the Japanese philosophy that all great things are accomplished through the strength of a small group. Not a single person. For this reason most if not all of the Final Fantasy series games are a party of characters, even if you are only controlling one. Or cycling through the characters in the Party to control them. If you hadn't noticed this by now, I'll assume that you haven't played other games in the series. I am impressed that SE has been trying to add more solo content to FFXI, considering their strong dedication to this core Japanese philosophy.

While the initial problem is cultural the secondary issue is scale. Basically the world of Vana D'iel is just too large in some cases. Because it can take 1/2 hour real time or more to cross a zone. While this can be rectified in a patch allowing the rental chocobos to move at 2x the speed they do now. That is not something SE has felt the need to do yet.

And what other Asian games are you referring to? I know Phantasy Star Universe is also Japanese. But that's the only other pure Asian MMORPG I can think of at the moment.


Quote:
Though you might find "normal" people that have their jobs, families etc, most of them are under depression, use drugs, have extremely poor social relationships or all these together. Games that force you to stay online "caming a NM" 21h like Final Fantasy does, is in my opinion one of the most severe drugs in the market.


I'm confused by what you are calling "normal people". Do you mean people that Don't play MMORPGS, or are you saying anyone that works for a living is "normal" and thereby depressed, ect? Please clarify this statement.

It's a shame that you don't think to camp a 21+ hour NM on a vacation week, or even a day off. Or have a friend get you the ToD for the NM so you don't have to work so hard for it. Also many of the 21/24 hr NM pops in FFXI have been adjusted down to 20+ hours. So which rock you're hiding under, I really don't know. But even WoW has NMs that are a 8-12 hour spawn rate. Which is just as bad for working for a living if you really want that *shiny*.


Quote:
I'm one of those addicted. How many tried to quit FFXI forever and never managed to do so because they still have something they must do in this game? Or friends they dont have in real life but they have in there?


I hate to tell you this, but all my friends in the game are my friends in real life even if I met them through the game. Even playing FFXI I am not faking the person I am. It's a shame your experiences seem to have been so poor. But blaming a game for your failures, is not the way to go. If I were to quit the game tomorrow, I would have no regrets. Especially since I am not one of the gear obsessed masses. As for games, I have loads of other things to do too. So I am not one of the people that complains about stuff, just cause I didn't get the *Shiny* last week. If you are gear obsessed in any game, you make your existence in that game a living ****. And to tell the truth I have been fishing and crafting mostly. As I don't care about any job but the one I already got to 75 & merited.



____________________________
AIM:MakaiLakshmi
Characters current status: Active - Casual
Makai (Elvaan) Level 75 White Mage/Black Mage
rank 10 san D'oria
Fati (Hume) Level 53 Red Mage/White Mage
rank 5 bastok
Nyvissa (Mithra) Level 49 Red Mage/Warrior
rank 5 windurst
Barak and hypocracy..... Social addiction.
# Jun 24 2009 at 9:57 AM Rating: Decent
*
89 posts
This is a man who admittedly cannot go anywhere without his "blackberry". But that's alright, cause it's not a video game? Or perhaps he's unaware that he is just as 'addicted'. A blackberry is a device that allows him access to the Internet and his friends 24/7. But of course, he may just still be in denial.

Social addiction is the root cause of 'MMO addiction', 'Internet addiction', ect. It is fundamentally a need to escape reality (or ignore responsibilities). A battered woman might find chatting online as much as possible to anyone that will listen, a comfort (or a means to endure). Is that an addiction? You keep logging into a game so you can ignore your parents complaining that you need to clean your room. Is that an addiction? You really hate to do that physics homework you know you should be doing, but you decide to log onto a game instead. Is that an addiction? No. It's trying to escape (or at least put off) your responsibilities. This is something that in any case, can bite you in your complacent buttocks. It's like not paying the bills, cause you'd rather be camping an Nm. The electric company will not wait for you to get that Nue Fang, before they cut off the power. A lack of good judgement is nobody's fault but your-own.

If you haven't learned good time management or means to control your time logged into a game, perhaps you should get a clock.. a real clock and put it right next to your monitor or TV. The game time for FFXI can be deceptive because it runs nearly 1 elemental day per hour. But even being a crafter in the game myself, I keep a clock beside my monitor. 'Cause I had to feed my crops in this game, goes over real well with your employer <scarcastic>(especially if you are looking to give them a reason to fire you). My Husband never complains about me being on FFXI a lot because he's almost always logged into CoX. So? We both have accounts and characters in both games, I just find the social interaction in my FFXI acct more interesting. The important thing is my life isn't suffering because of my gaming. (in fact I often put into my away message in Aim I am at work to pay for my gaming time.) And I have noticed most of people in the games I play, are very understanding about real-life obligations. Ad if I have trouble paying for my gaming time.. obviously my accounts get some suspension time. (Am I crying in the off time? No way! There's always housework I've most likely been putting off. I could always go get a tan, or read a book.)

So there you have it. MMO addiction is not really an addiction. It's more like trying to put a slightly different name on the same old problem.

~Makai

P.S. If you listened to every negative thing people said, you'd probably want to stay at home and never get out of bed.
Why any video game rating doesn't really work.
# Jun 24 2009 at 9:04 AM Rating: Excellent
*
89 posts
Regardless what rating is put onto a game some parent will buy it for their kid. I have actually seen a Mother buy "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" for her 8 year old son, in a local Gamestop. Even after the "associate" at the store told her it's a Mature game. And this is a fundamental problem with these parents. They often don't care, and would rather let the government raise their kids. Or they'll just blame the game company when their kid turns out bad, "cause the government should have banned it".

Anyone watch Equilibrium?

~Makai

P.S. If you can't resist logging into a game, How bad is the life that you are escaping from? (I believe addiction is a excuse too many use)

Why any video game rating doesn't really work.
# Jun 24 2009 at 2:06 PM Rating: Excellent
Good reference! Great movie. :)
____________________________
__________________
Fly High Daevas,
Tamat ~ Andrew Beegle
Community Manager
Arrrrgh.
# Jun 24 2009 at 9:00 AM Rating: Good
Scholar
****
4,993 posts
All of this crap about how bad Video Games are, really gets me sometimes.

Honestly.

What would you rather, as a parent?

A). Your kid sit in the house where you can watch him 24/7 playing a video game,

or,

B). Your kid goes out with the neighborhood kids and does God only knows what with the other kids outside?

I'd take A). definitely. I've seen kids just "hangin'" out in the neighborhood. Yeah, those kids who get into stealing, drugs, alcohol, smoking, ***, and God only knows what else they do.

A kid playing a videogame stays in the house, where you can SEE him/her.

And besides, Video Games can be educational tools too! Especially the RPG genre, where kids develop a larger vocabulary by being subjected to different words constantly, they do a LOT of reading (before the videogame boom, wasn't 'kids don't read books enough!' the common complaint?), and they learn problem-solving skills.

As far as kids not being "fit" or having "health issues", that's the parents' and the schools' faults there. What's up with the snack machines in schools nowadays? They are filled with THE unhealthiest food known to Mankind. That's not a video game fault there, folks. And how do these kids get fat in the first place? All of the exercise/running/sports aren't going to save your 400lb kid if he's constantly stuffing his face with chocolate/potato chips/etc. Even without the video games, he'd be watching TV or movies and be doing the same **** thing.

Video Games aren't the problem here. Wanna know what the problems are?

1). Gangs/Drugs/Violence on the streets. What smart kid wants to be caught up in the middle of that!? If I were a kid living in the city, I would be too afraid to go to SCHOOL let alone walk the streets alone.

2). Parents. The USA in general has been doing more and more and more of a very bad thing lately: Taking the blame away from the parents (where it SHOULD be!) and putting it on every-freaking-thing else. Face it; if a kid has bad parents that lack discipline, the kid will lack discipline himself more times than not. If a parent doesn't discipline their child, the child will grow up to be rebellious and a trouble-maker in most cases. Stop putting the blame on everything _else_ and start going after the parents.

3). Responsibility. Again, this is something the USA is (I live in the USA myself, btw) quite guilty of, sadly. People refuse to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions. If someone does something very *** stupid and gets hurt by it physically/economically/etc, they will put the blame on something else other than themselves. They borrow more than they can pay back, OMG, its the credit card companies' faults! They order a hot cup of coffee and try to drive while putting it between their legs and inevitably spill it and burn their legs, OMG, its the coffee shop's fault! Sue them! They buy a gun, fail to keep it safely locked in a safe, and a kid shoots himself with it, OMG, its the GUN COMPANY's fault! They drink alcohol and get into an accident and get serious injuries, OMG, its the Alcohol Brewer's fault!

Bottom Line: Stop putting the blame on everyone else, watch your **** kids, and thank the Gods that they found something to do that doesn't involve violence, gangs, drugs, etc. A million other kids went the OTHER route that didn't involve video games and are either 6-feet-under, in a gang on the street somewhere, in jail, or in rehab. It COULD BE WORSE.

Video Games aren't addicting by themselves. They are just more enjoyable to many kids, because the alternatives downright suck. I don't understand the big hoo-ha over going to the bar. Bars stink (alcohol smell has always made me sick in the stomach), are full of loud and annoying drunk people, dangerous (barfights), and I just don't like the atmosphere. Going out to a movie? I can watch the same movie at home (maybe 2-3 months later...) for a **** of a lot cheaper. Heck if I buy the DVD for $15, I get it cheaper AND I can watch it an infinite number of times, without getting a crick in my neck from looking up at the screen! Oh, and my living room chair happens to be a **** of a lot more comfortable too.

Video Games are so attractive because they provide a fairly cheap form of entertainment that keeps on going. MMORPGs are a subset of video games that are "never-ending" as long as you keep up the monthly fee.

Why did I get into MMORPGs?

Simple. I can either:

A). Spend $50 per game twice a month, because most games only last a week or two at most. This costs $1000+ per year.

or

B). Spend an initial $50 upfront and then $15 per month. One year is $230.

Gee, $230 or $1000? That's a hard decision to make, isn't it?

There's a DIFFERENCE between Attractiveness and Addiction.

If you want to get people off Videogames/MMORPGs, then come up with something that is more enjoyable and more fun to do.

People play MMORPGs because they offer the best form of entertainment currently. That crown was once owned by non-online video games, and before it, TV. Maybe something new will take it away from MMORPGs.
« Previous 1 2
Post Comment

Free account required to post

You must log in or create an account to post messages.