Online game companies need to do more to prevent players becoming too addicted in order to avoid government intervention, a study has warned:
Researcher scientists at Cardiff, Derby and Nottingham Trent universities said some gamers play up to 90 hours a session, developing a “pathological addiction.”
The investigators say while conventional video games have an ending, role-playing games involving numerous players may not. The universities’ research warned if game companies did not create restraints for players and their games grew in popularity, Western governments might have no choice but to follow Asia and limit usage.
The study, published in the Addiction Research and Theory journal, has said Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are an inexhaustible system of goals and success.
The character becomes stronger and richer by moving to new levels while accumulating treasures, power and weaponry.
The universities have said evidence suggests around seven to 11% of gamers were having real problems and were considered “pathological gamers.” Many game addicts were reported to have been playing for 40, 60, and even near 90 hours in a session.
Dr Shumaila Yousafzai from Cardiff Business School said popular online video games warned players not to overuse their products.
“These warning messages also suggest that the online video game industry might know how high the percentage of over-users is, how much time gamers spend playing and what specific features make a particular game more engrossing and addictive than others,” he said.
“While they do not directly admit this, by showing the warning messages, they do take some responsibility into their own hands.”
Cyber psychologist Dr Zaheer Hussain, from the University of Derby, said warning messages were not enough.
He said: “As a first step online game developers and publishers need to look into the structural features of the game design, for example the character development, rapid absorption rate, and multi-player features which could make them addictive and or problematic for some gamers.
“One idea could be to shorten long quests to minimise the time spent in the game obtaining a certain prized item.”