Interactive Software Federation of Europe

Does Video Game Addiction Exist?

Professors Mark D Griffiths and Mark N. O. Davies (Nottingham Trent University) take a detailed look at the concept of ‘video game addiction’. Whereas it appears to have its supporters in the popular press, there is a form of 'knee-jerk skepticism’ within the academic community - not least among those working in the field of addiction research. It is not hard to understand the skepticism. For many people, the concept of video game addiction seems far-fetched, particularly if their concepts and definitions of addiction involve the taking of drugs. Despite the predominance of drug-based definitions of addiction, there is now a growing movement that views a number of behaviors as potentially addictive (e.g., gambling, computer game playing, exercise, sex, and the internet). Such diversity has led to new, all encompassing definitions of what constitutes addictive behavior.

Having operationally defined addiction, it is the authors' belief that video game addiction does indeed exist, but that it affects only a very small minority of players. There appear to be many people who use video games excessively but are not addicted as measured by these (or any other) criteria.