Games contain psychological trickery, says documentary, but only a few are at risk of becoming addicts.
The next episode of the BBC documentary program Panorama examines the problem of videogame addiction, and some details about the show have leaked out ahead of time, giving a glimpse into how we can expect gaming to be presented to an audience that is likely unfamiliar with the pastime.
The documentary makers have talked to a number of experts about the problem, and some of their comments have appeared online. Adrian Hon, chief creative officer of media company SixtoStart, thinks that people are unaware of just how powerful the techniques used to keep people playing games are, and that it's something that game makers will have to consider as games reach more and more people.
Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University's International Gaming Research Unit, agrees that videogames contain some very potent psychological tricks, but adds that it's only people who are predisposed or otherwise vulnerable to becoming addicted that are in any real danger. Griffiths thinks that for most people, playing videogames will be a very positive part of their lives.
The documentary features at least one videogame addict - teenager Joe Staley, who spent all his time playing Call of Duty without ever actually getting out of bed - but hopefully it will make it clear that he is an exception, rather than the rule. It's impossible to know the overall tone of the piece until it's actually been shown, but the expert quotes suggest that the BBC is taking a fairly even-handed approach to the subject. The core message seems to be that videogames themselves aren't bad, as long as they aren't played to excess, and you can say the same thing about almost any hobby you can name.
Panorama: Addicted to Games goes out on BBC 1 on Monday 6th December at 8:30PM GMT.