A highly misinformed article in Dagbladet told us on 30th of November, that WoW now had a netpoker function that could be linked to virtual gold, but also real net poker sites. Reading the article it was clear that this was actually a crazy cooked up story about an old addon (player programmed software addition) that allowed players to play poker in game.
Fortunately today Martin Eide put the facts right: this has nothing to do with Blizzard, gambling is NOT encouraged and kids are NOT the majority player base.
Reading both reactions to these articles on Dagbladets commentary field, as well as related blogs - I am constantly shocked over the misconceptions around. Statements like "the biggest problem we are currently facing" and "we all know this is a danger to society". What? Who? Where?
So a bunch of kids and young adults who cant manage their time is the biggest threat to society? Did I miss a memo?
When portraying game addiction there are several key elements: excessive time use, conflict with family, neglecting other responsibilities such as work/school and aggression. Also, this seems to concern primarely young boys. Going by this standard there are several things I have issues with.
Firstly, there has been no studies linking gaming as the cause for any of this, and when there are - you will find equally as many stating the opposite. A scientific community is dissent holds no "truth".
Secondly, that a teenage boy is not enthused about school, is in conflict with his parents, don't go to bed at time and can be agressive - might have very little to do with World of Warcraft of any other game. In fact it sounds very much like the state most teenagers are in. And to be honest, is it really THAT bad having your teenage son at home on a saturday night?
Ofcourse, there is always a minority that has severe problems linked to gaming. However, it is not necessarily addiction and its not necessarily something the game hsa caused.