In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the 11th revision of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) which will go into effect in January 2022. WHO added a new category in disorders due to addictive behaviors called “gaming disorder.” As defined in ICD-11 06C51, gaming disorder has three pillars: “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” The pattern is to be observed over a twelve-month period and it is irrelevant if the games are played online or offline. This is not to be confused with hazardous gaming as defined in ICD-11 QE22. Hazardous gaming is classified as a substance abuse while gaming disorder is classified as a behavioral disorder and both are classified as exclusive to each other.
Using WHO’s definition of gaming disorder, Clutch, a gaming clip sharing app, conducted a survey of a portion of their user base using a modified variant of Greenfield Video Game Addiction Test (GVGAT). Using a scale between 0-100, Clutch found that 27.8% of the 1,570 surveyed potentially had some level of video game disorder. A score of 41.2 was considered a sign of addiction. People surveyed by Clutch volunteered some personal information. 90% of surveyed people were men, 7% were women and the remaining 3% either chose “other” or did not volunteer that information. The average age was of the people surveyed was 20.
According to the data collected by Clutch, women were more prone to gaming disorder tendencies than men. Clutch speculates that an explanation comes from the mobile game market which has a majority of women players. Mobile games typically apply more psychological techniques to retain players for longer times than typical mainstream games. This is to be taken with a grain of salt as only 110 women were surveyed. Clutch’s survey found that unemployed gamers scored higher for gaming disorder than those employed. Between Millenials, Gen Z, and Gen X, the younger generations were scoring higher than older generations.
Clutch collected data on which games people were playing and compiled the highest score for gaming disorder per game. Clutch found that Minecraft, Red Dead Redemption, For Honor, Overwatch, and Grand Theft Auto 5 had the highest scores. While none of the games scored over 41.2, Clutch speculates that these games scored higher due to rewarding players often and having fewer breaks in the flow of gameplay.
While not diagnosing people with gaming disorder and relying only on self-reported data, Clutch found some correlation between potential gaming addiction and which demographics appear to be most at risk.