The ESA Rebukes "Gaming Disorder" Classification


The talk of mental health is serious, and deserves careful discussion about issues that really do affect people's daily lives. Because of this, the World Health Organisation is adding gaming addiction to their list of verified mental disorders. We have reported their findings back in December, but it looks like not everyone is on board with their approach to mental health and its connection to gaming.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has officially released a new statement regarding the latest addition and we can't help but to pay attention. The ESA is made up of some of the industry's most influential publishers, and they are crying foul play saying that WHO is "recklessly" toying with real mental illness in order to push their gaming addition addition. This is what the ESA had to say:

"Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than 2 billion people around the world enjoy video games."

"The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action."

The American Psychological Association also backs up the ESA, stating that there is not enough evidence to support classifying gaming addiction as a mental disorder, and that there isn't nearly enough diagnostic date to make such a claim official.


The eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual is set to release in 2018, and gaming is slated to be something that should be monitored in extreme cases, at least according to WHO. It's important to note that this doesn't include casual gaming, or those occasional marathons that will always be a fun event. We've all heard those outlandish tales of spouses leaving their significant other over thousands of dollars spent on in-game items, or those stories where gamers have lost their jobs because they couldn't put the controller down. That's where this comes into play, and not a means of attack.

Since the initial report broke about the addition of gaming addiction, the industry reacting strongly on both sides. WHO has yet to comment on the backlash of their original statement.