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Global Games Industry Condemns World Health Organization Classifying Gaming Addiction as a Disease

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Earlier today, the World Health Organization officially classified gaming addiction as a disease, potentially classifying millions of gamers worldwide as legally disabled. Now, gaming regulatory bodies like the ESA have responded to the new WHO decision.

The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) has put out a statement condemning the decision, urging the WHO to reverse the classification.

“The global video game industry—including representatives from across Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, and Brazil—today called on World Health Organization (WHO) Member States to re-examine at an early date its decision to include ‘Gaming Disorder’ in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11),” the statement reads.

The statement adds, “The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts. ‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools.”

ESA boss Stanley Pierre-Louis previously met with WHO officials back in January, noting, ” We believe that continued conversation and education is needed before any classification is finalized. In fact, leading mental health experts have cautioned repeatedly that classifying ‘Gaming Disorder’ creates a risk of misdiagnosis for patients who most need help.”

He added, “It’s our hope that through continued dialogue we can help the WHO avoid rushed action and mistakes that could take years to correct. The billions of video game players around the world who will be affected by an ICD-11 classification error deserve action based on meticulous research.”

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.