The numbers cited in this morning's Daily Mail report may have been doctored by Divorce Online, the conductors of the survey.
The British tabloid Daily Mail said today that 15 percent of divorces filed in the U.K. for "unreasonable behavior" now cite videogame addiction as a cause. What the report fails to mention is that courts often won't pass a petition for divorce unless three or four reasons for the split are provided. After the heavy hitters like "lack of love and affection" and "an inability to deal with debts" are put down, it's not that big of a stretch to complain about your husband's videogaming habits.
More damningly, EuroGamer noted that an advertisement for videogaming stories related to divorce appeared on Divorce Online's Facebook page, offering £250 for people to tell their stories and appear a national newspaper. "[The newspapers] also tend to pay too!" the ad said.
Jessica Ellis, the woman quoted in the Daily Mail story and a recent client of Divorce Online, rose to the challenge and promise of pay. "He was addicted to World of Warcraft but played other games now and then. The amount he was playing gradually increased until I could not take it any more," she said.
But the picture Ellis painted for the press release is much different than what she told Eurogamer when they asked her the details of her and ex-husband's story. "My husband and I recently moved over from South Africa, so for him [playing WoW] was a connection to his friends back home," Ellis said. "I think it was particularly bad during winter, so the staying home part might be relevant. But the main reason was to stay connected to his friends."
Hmm, that sounds very different than simply splitting up because he played games too much. I'm not saying that Ellis and her husband should have stayed together, but I don't think that there is suddenly a huge rise in divorce in the U.K. because of videogame addicition. The whole story seems to be fabricated by Divorce Online, and the Daily Mail.
I'm not sure why I'm surprised.