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UKIE pre-empts Panorama 'games addiction' broadcast

Body moves to dismiss claims of addiction ahead of BBC report

UK Interactive Entertainment is attempting to pre-empt the BBC's Panorama broadcast next week, which intends to "reveal the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more."

The show will air views "from youngsters who've dropped out of school and university to play games for anything up to 21 hours a day," and "describe their obsessive gaming as an addiction."

But according to UKIE there is no solid evidence that so-called games addiction exists or is a legitimate affliction.

"There is currently no proven link between videogames and addiction, with there being mixed opinion among academics about whether a game can be clinically addictive," said Michael Rawlinson, director general of UKIE.

"There is no official medical diagnosis of videogame addiction, either from the American Medical Association or the World Health Organisation."

Rawlinson was interviewed for the Panorama programme - along with other industry figures - but has not seen a final edit of the show, to be broadcast on BBC One on Monday December 6.

"UKIE is aware of some individuals that play games excessively but often the causes of many of the sad cases that we hear about are down to other underlying medical, social or environmental issues concerning the individuals concerned," said Rawlinson.

"UKIE continues to monitor any research developments on the issue of excessive gaming and will welcome reviewing any conclusive new research. Any new research undertaken should be as balanced as possible.

"Therefore any research undertaken should ideally be independent of the games industry and any other bodies that may have an interest in the results."

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.