Shooters, MMOGs linked to problem game playing - Study

A new study conducted by the Institute for Special Populations Research in New York reveals that some game genres are more prone to problem game-playing habits.

Video game addiction has become a widely debated public health issue both in the US and overseas in the past five years, despite the lack of a formal diagnosis. While the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently rejected a proposal to include video game addiction in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)--to be published in May 2013--researchers around the world continue to investigate methods of determining, treating, and preventing what has now become a recognized mental-health issue.

A recent study conducted by the National Development and Research Institutes' Special Populations Research branch in New York has discovered a link between problem game playing and particular types of game genres.

First-person shooters have been linked to problem game-playing habits.

Luther Elliott, Andrew Golub, Eloise Dunlap, and Geoffrey Ream (the latter from the School of Social Work at Adelphi University in New York) surveyed 3,380 adult participants over the age of 18 who said they played video games for an hour or more during the last week.

The survey paid particular attention to characteristics of video game use, including time played, titles played in the past year, and problems associated with playing. The research team then used Gamefaqs.com to sort the 2,652 valid titles into 15 mutually exclusive genres: massively multiplayer online role-playing games, other role-playing games, action adventure, first-person shooter, other shooter, sports general, sports other, rhythm, driving, platformer, real-time strategy, other strategy, puzzle, board and card games, gambling, and other.

The results of the survey showed that only 5 percent of respondents reported moderate to extreme problem game playing; of that 5 percent, the most problems showed up among those who reported playing either first-person shooters, action adventure, role-playing games, and gambling games during the past year.

The most common titles reported by participants in the problem categories were: Call of Duty (first-person shooter category); Grand Theft Auto (action adventure category); World of Warcraft (MMORPG category); and poker (gambling games category).

This led the team to conclude that there is evidence to suggest that problem game playing is linked to particular kinds of game genres, but that future research into this area is needed, particularly research that pays attention to the game-design elements specific to the problem genres.

"Recent sales figures for blockbuster series such as Call of Duty and Halo indicate a huge audience for the FPS genre in America; our findings suggest that a considerable sub-population is experiencing at least moderate degrees of problem video game playing," the study says.

"Perhaps the immersion potential of a first-person perspective, commonly combined with online competition, largely accounts for the higher rates of problem game playing. For action adventure games, a trend toward nonlinear 'open-world' style environments in which extensive, time-consuming exploration is encouraged may create a context for more pervasive experiences of problem game playing."

"These interpretations are speculative at this point, but suggest important avenues of exploration for future research."

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281 comments
botsio
botsio

also when u are shot by a sniper u react as if u had been shot for real.its crazy.worse is when u are being shot at and can find ur shooter.how frustrating it is.u sometimes see him after he's killed u.

botsio
botsio

i would say the only problem with first person shooters is that.with COD for instance when mounting or jumping over objects it tends to have some effects on the eye.u kind of feel some swaying movements inside ur head.itend to look away cos it gives me headaches.

UpstateGamer
UpstateGamer

So, without commenting on the ridiculous amount of condensing that had to be done to cull the "juiciest" facts from the article so they could be front and center (hey, GS, I don't blame you -- I'm a former journalist...trying to report on studies like this is a real pain...) -- just in case people want to look at the study or see how the researchers actually define "problem video game playing" (labeled "PVP" in the study): http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/cyber.2011.0387 (there's both PDF and HTML versions available...its publication in a peer-reviewed journal is upcoming....the e-publishing was done in advance....) They basically tweaked existing psychological tests that look at alcohol addiction and gambling and worked to blend them together to create a framework that would examine the issue at hand, including a series of 5 questions which were answered and scored on a Likert scale (1-5, answers like "never", "sometimes," "always", etc.).

c1utch2much
c1utch2much

...and im interested in this why?...

max_1111
max_1111

Must be a slow news day.

josephreynii
josephreynii

@parrot_of_adun yeah...my attempt at humor failed....the honest truth is I just wanted people to thumbs up my comment....I keep forgetting this isn't reddit....

jamo-guilmo
jamo-guilmo

please site your source, i would enjoy to read further. as your article felt bias or miss led. thank you.

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

Also, why is it that if all I thought about was baseball or sports, I'm a normal guy, but when it's either tv or gaming, I've become an addict? This is coming from a guy who loves both. I get weird looks when I say I play a lot of games, but when I say "I never miss a football game" nobody cares

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

Games that "cause" addiction are the ones considered to be great. People love COD and BF because they are great, and games like WOW because they are so immersive. There is no specific genre. When video games become more fun than real life is when we get addicted.

Alexbrha
Alexbrha

There are a lot of factors, the social enviroment is the key here i think. But considering the social problems we deal, its a common refuge for a lot of people to take "refuge" in video games. But for some cases it becomes a healt problem. In my opininon there are a lot of worse adiccions out there...

jrmorgan23
jrmorgan23

I suppose if I read a book and enjoyed it, and read more books from the same author, say totaling a hundred hours or so of reading I would be considered well-read, diverse and educated. If I read it all on a kindle I would be modern. Relive the same stories by means of an interactive video game and be labeled as an "addict" with a "problem". They just want a new classification of a disease to open the door to millions if not billions of dollars of studies, advocacy, marketing and treatment. Never leading to a cure, not that there is one.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@josephreynii Ah, sorry, I guess I inferred something you never implied in that case. Tone on the internet and all that..

josephreynii
josephreynii

@parrot_of_adun ....sorry....missed your comment by a few days. What I said was more of a joke than anything. I don't care if video game addiction is real or not. I could see it being proven either way. I don't think the study is saying it is a widespread problem however, just a possibility that could use some more research. I do know this. I'm addicted to cigarettes. I can go about a week without smoking, but I still have an urge to smoke even when I do. I have that same kind of feeling towards SWTOR right now. I don't spend hours on end playing it, but I want to quite often. Is that an addiction? I don't know. Is it unhealthy? Don't really care, but I do see how it could be a problem for some people.

dnguyen3
dnguyen3

what about some sports games like FIFA 12? Getting scored on in the 90th minute to tie the game can be really frustrating

Animal_Fruit
Animal_Fruit

By this definition, everyone with a hobby is a potential addict. Where are the articles about golf addiction?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@.erix43 Nice telepathy. Let's face it, you know nothing of my intelligence. And your assertion that "addictions can also be mental addictions" is a baseless assumption. Facing your logical fallacies is the (you think I'M not that smart?)

erix43
erix43

@parrot_of_adun Nice wiki-ing. Let's face it, you're not that smart. And addictions can also be mental addictions. Facing denial is the first cure towards stupidity.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Define "problem game playing"? If they mean FPS and MMO end up with people playing them for more hours a week then they should also check the casual gamers on facebook for how much they spend clicking their crops or whatever they are doing.

StarWatchers
StarWatchers

They really done research into this? Anyone who plays Games could actually tell you, It's just common sense that MMO,War FPS and gambling are all highly addictive!!

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

News just in. Being a douche bag in games makes you a douche bag in real life! Well of course people are going to be evil to each other, nothing ever makes your own fun more gratifying than knowing you're stomping on someone elses good time.

xXl_z3r0_lXx
xXl_z3r0_lXx

If you get "addicted" to video games, you had a problem waaaaaaaaay before you started playing them. btw mrboone01 If I can get money from the government for being "addicted" (lol) to video games too, then I might actually like this stupid attempt at removing our ability to control what we do to our lives. Lol stupid the government xD

datniccah187
datniccah187

I think I might have a problem myself. COD has become my life, I may need help lol

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

It is useful to think about certain ideas and questions like this critically. For example, you could think about what types of games and gameplay would be the most addictive. My thoughts are that gameplay that is repetitive and rewarding would seem to be the most addictive. In MMOs, you are always working on improving your character(s), with repetitive gameplay that rewards you with a stronger in-game avatar. For shooters, you are constantly trying to kill the enemy characters, and in multiplayer the enemies are other people, which adds to the difficulty and excitement. Shooters are often said to be an adrenaline game, meaning you get the blood pumping and some testosterone flowing. When you "win" (either a kill or a whole match), dopamine would be released as a reward. These are natural drugs released by your body, which could make games addictive. Note: This is not a scientific analysis, just a thought experiment.

oflow
oflow

ya but these same adults had parents that let them develop these habits gaming as children. Most adults dont start gaming as adults they started their bad habits as kids, which is the parents' fault.

jasonlc3221
jasonlc3221

Most of you children that are reading this article are missing the point entirely. First of all, they surveyed adults only. Secondly, it's adults who quit their jobs to play all day (or just refuse to get a job altogether). Addicted gamers are those who choose to ignore all other aspects of life in order to play video games for 16 hours a day (or more). As long as the few adults who read this article aren't guilty of what I mentioned, I don't think you have anything to worry about. But if you missed your brother's wedding because the new Battlefield maps were just released, then you definitely have a problem.

00J
00J

What about researchers being addicted to finding out about addictions, that's an addiction too! Right back at em!

00J
00J

Sigh... Can't eat sugar, can't play games, who's making these rules up you only live once, who wants to live like boring banal dork.

grokh
grokh

people who play call of duty and GTA are insane ... and people who still play wow and gambling games are addicted .... what else is new ? also just separating games by genre is not enough, there are alot of action adventure games that have nothing to do with the violence that goes on in GTA)

SpotonRisotto
SpotonRisotto

Maybe the 1/20 ratio is more down to mental health issues. I mean how many people are OCD that play games? I do at least 20 hours a week in games and consider myself pretty casual at most games. Unless people are out there playing Niko Bellic in real life, how is it a problem if they play it at home on a video game? Very vague on what they consider a problem other than they are doing studies about people who play games. Tommy pinball wizard was linked to problem gaming, gtfo.

A_Belmont
A_Belmont

It's funny, the survey never once calls this an "addiction", yet gamespot editorial staff AND the majority of commenters are talking about addiction. Looks like some people are in the denial stage....

trivolution
trivolution

Better be addicted in video games than drugs and cigarettes.

digi-demon
digi-demon

Games are addicting? Video games? Shocker ! Well! who would have predicted this outcome :P PS. Btw, so is watching TV, drinking beer and even trawling throu internet sites like GS :lol:

DarthJohnova
DarthJohnova

I swear people do these research things just to piss users here off, everyone gets so ridiculously defensive :P

NoirBadguy
NoirBadguy

@DuaneDog But in terms of addictiveness, few beers or little something something is not yet considered as being addict. Same for few hours spent playing video games. There is a question: is pulling all nighter in Skyrim compared to getting drunk until passout? Not the quantity, but the 'quality' of behaviour detrmines you are addict. If you play in your free time, why not. If you drink at work, you may have a problem.

weedman1985
weedman1985

Problem? I think you have a problem understanding that we don't care. No gamer cares about this stupid research. It shouldn't even be posted on this website. Why am I reading this? Because I'm outraged. This data only serves to solidify the opinions of narrow minded people who have already condemned gaming as a form of entertainment. It serves no purpose for us other than to remind gamers that there are people in the world who will do everything in their power to bring this industry down. How about you do a research on how Television ruins today's youth, instead?

Agent-M
Agent-M

First off "Problem game playing" is never defined in the article. Does problem game playing mean that players are having problems playing certain types of games (meaning they suck), or are they instead getting psychological and emotional problems from those games. Either way its never states, If the latter, then no symptoms from the researched are ever mentioned and there is no reason given as to why there is a problem in the first place. - Any game that has you fighting for your life, or constantly competing against other players will cause problems if played for too long due to the stress. Any game that has a financial investment involved, like gambling is also stressful. You don't need a research team to find that out. Best solution: Take a break from gaming once in a while, and learn to manage your time.

starduke
starduke

What exactly constitutes "problem game playing" to them? I'm an avid gamer, and have been known to spend multiple hours in game. Hey, they're called weekends. I don't have a girlfriend, or much of a social life, or a job, so I don't have much else to spend multiple hours with. Soon, I may be getting all of those things, so I won't have multiple hours to spend gaming. I'm not worried about that, since games have save features! Hmm, sometimes I wish life did as well. :lol:

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

So the point of this study was? yea games are "addictive" but not everyone is an addict most people can exhibit self control and the ones who cant more than likely would have ended up addicted to something else. What would you rather them be doing something where they could potentially hurt others or just something minorly damaging to themselves?

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

I I'll admit that gaming has often killed my productivity practially more than any substance. If I have some beers I could still do my homework if I hadn't done too much. If I had smoked a little somethin something... I could still create music, art, and work on business projects which has allowed me to live quite well. But with gaming... when you game while you are doing it your attention cannot be on anything else. I'll admit that I can look back at entire months where pretty much all I did was play games. I'm not saying it is so much addiction as indulgence... just like anything you can't really stop doing in moderation until you really decide it is time to quit.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

The results would be worse if the real gaming addicts were willing to stop playing cod for long enough to participate in the study.

BloodFatality
BloodFatality

I'm addicted to cigarettes not video games. Although sometimes I wish it was the other way around..

666Rich666
666Rich666

I have clocked over 200 hours into Dark Souls alone, but hold 2 jobs and have a social life. Yeah I'm an avid gamer, but that does not make me an addict. While it is true that many people do become addicted to games to the point that their professional and social life suffer, thus percentage is small. I often find myself playing video games on my days off for hours on end, but does that make me an addict, or someone who simply enjoys the medium of video games?

wyan_
wyan_

At least one big hole in their research is about shooters. They should have determined if the gamers were playing online multiplayer. I would bet money that nearly all the addicted shooter gamers were playing online.

blackmetalwar
blackmetalwar

@ Henninger Agreed, "problem game play" sounds like some sort of drama class activity. They should really define it--although I'm thinking maybe they didn't bother in order to implicate a greater subject group.

Ultimate39
Ultimate39

@FullmetalFreak7 People who are addicted to games, though addiction could lead to some of the things you mentioned.

Henninger
Henninger

@ Unfallen_Satan I was wondering what that was myself. How do you have an article about "problem game play" & not describe exactly what that is??? FAIL!!!

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

What exactly is "problem game play"? The study, or maybe just this news report, is difficult to understand without that critical piece of information. On top of that, I don't think gambling can be included among other games since gambling addiction is a widely established separate mental condition. However, there may be commonalities between gambling addiction to gaming addiction.

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

"The results of the survey showed that only 5 percent of respondents reported moderate to extreme problem game playing." If only 5% are affected, then what's the big deal? I know a lot of gamers (this is an understatement, by the way), and not one of them has problems linked to video games, so this probably only applies to a miniscule amount of gamers. This 5% could be people who had problems to begin with.