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Games industry responds to Panorama addiction show

Publisher body UKIE says there's "no proven link" between games and addiction

Ahead of the airing of Panorama's upcoming documentary 'Addicted to Games?', UK publisher trade body UKIE has said that playing games is a hobby like any other and there's "currently no proven link between video games and addiction".

On Monday night, a Panorama special promises to "reveal the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more".

We're expecting the show to vilify some of the industry's biggest releases, although the reporter behind the investigation has told CVG that gamers should "judge after you've watched".

UKIE director general Michael Rawlinson, who was interviewed for the show, said in a statement issued ahead of the broadcast: "There is currently no proven link between video games and addiction, with there being mixed opinion among academics about whether a game can be clinically addictive. There is no official medical diagnosis of video game addiction, either from the American Medical Association or the World Health Organization.

"Playing games is a hobby - just like reading, listening to music or playing a sport - that millions of people around the world engage in safely every day. We know that most people use games as part of a balanced lifestyle: in the UK, 55% of gamers aged 16-49 play for 1-5 hours a week, with only 12% playing in excess of 10 hours a week.

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

"UKIE and the wider video games and interactive entertainment industry takes the health and wellbeing of consumers very seriously and promotes balance and moderation as part of its safe and sensible gaming message. This includes recommending gamers take regular breaks of at least five minutes every 45-60 minutes as a rule of thumb.

"Playing games sensibly and safely can have benefits: helping gamers of all ages to develop social skills such as collaboration and turn taking, and nurturing strategic thinking. Playing active technology and fitness games can also improve physical health, and offer other general health benefits that result from this.

"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."