For more than 90% of gamers out there, playing games is mainly treated as a great hobby. Gaming allows for entertainment, fun social interaction and at some points, even learning something new. Video games mostly act as a small escape from reality, allowing people to unwind and enjoy something they love.
While that is the case for the majority of people who play video games, for a small group of people, video games can become an addiction. There is nothing inherently wrong with being addicted to video games, unlike other common addictions, playing games does not yield any direct health issues. The problems surrounding video game addiction are more related to time, or more specifically, a lack of time for anything else in life.
Where Is The Line
There is a common flaw in the way we approach addiction as a whole. Every study attempt to quantify addiction by sheer numbers, which can give a very twisted view of a potential real issue. A lot of studies point towards 3 hours a day of gaming a day being an addiction, this would be similar to watching a movie before bed every night being an addiction. On the other end of the scale, we have competitive players and streamers who can play upwards of 10 hours a day, while still suffering no negative side effects and easily being able to stop gaming when needed to do so.
Gaming addiction can be a large problem and unlike at an online gambling casino, video games don’t tend to offer direct support channels. But quantifying it down to hours per day is just not an effective way to identify a potential problem. There are much more effective ways to spot an addiction, mainly stemming from time management. Addiction becomes prevalent when the person in question is no longer able to manage their own time, missing appointments, prearranged social meetings and even work as they prioritize games over anything else.
A Difficult Line To Draw
In recent years, it has become more and more difficult to draw the line of addiction when it comes to gaming. Fans of a series will often take a weekend away from everything, or even take time off work to enjoy a new game in their favourite series.
The release of Elden Ring is a great example, where many people took time from work and cleared their schedules to spend as much time playing when the game was newly released. On normal occasion, the Elden Ring players would not play an unhealthy amount, and they only make exceptions for certain instances. While games will get in the way of their normal lives for that timeframe, it is typically a short and very defined time frame, not all that much different from taking a holiday.
There are no direct physical withdrawals involved with stopping or slowing down playing games, making the process of slowing down a very individual one. The best help is often with friends and family.