Via Gamepolitics, a BBC One program called Panorama has aired an episode about videogame addiction. The episode can be seen on Youtube in two parts:
It’s a pretty good episode, Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University) got interviewed of which I am pleased that he emphasized the need for more research. The interviewes with the addicted gamers and their families were quite interesting and revealing about the behaviours and their way of thinking about their online gaming.
I especially liked the Korean segment because I so know little about the situation over there besides Starcraft’s status as a national sport. Although, I do feel some consternation about the episode’s framing of national broadband in Korea and its future implementation in the UK, they showed that it has a positive economic impact and starts to gloom over its potential negative addictive impact. That’s just… scaring some people from having free access to the internet, which is becoming a very essential infrastructure in our digital society.
They haven’t discussed much (as far as I remember) about the causes of videogame addiction, although I am pleased that there was a brief mention that underlying issues are present alongside videogame addiction. One factor that is brought to attention is operant conditioning, namely the variable ratio schedule. I can see why the variable ratio schedule can be a factor (as a game mechanics) towards videogame addiction, but I must emphasize the complexity surrounding any psychological phenomena, whether it is about impression management over the internet to videogame addiction, “I think you’ll it’s a bit more complicated than that” (Ben Goldacre). At the top of my exhausted head, virtual social capital, social relationships over the internet, self-esteem issues, social competence, economic opportunities,
uh… crappy stressful assignments that’s due tomorrow.
Bottom line about the episode, it’s pretty good. Go watch it and I’d like to hear what other videogame addiction researchers think about this episode.