Today’s issue of UK national newspaper The Sun leads with a story that has no doubt caused headaches at Microsoft.
With a headline of ‘Death by Xbox’, the paper has pushed to the fore the tragic case of Chris Staniforth, a 20-year-old who died of deep-vein-thrombosis (DVT).
The report directly links the DVT to Staniforth spending up to 12 hours playing Xbox games – his father said he was “sucked in” to online multiplayer for games like Halo.
DVT is the formation of a blood clot that develops often without symptoms and is most commonly occurring in immobilised hospital patients or regular smokers - but is also linked to long-haul flights and travel, where it occurs due to lack of movement in transit.
The Sun throws in that “in recent years it has been increasingly been seen among those who sit for long spells in front of computer screens”. As tragic as this story is, that’s an odd claim to throw in when it can occur in anyone immobilised or still for a long period of time. (And let’s not forget an Xbox needs to be plugged into a TV, not a computer.)
Staniforth’s father David said he is now launching a campaign to raise awareness of DVT and video games – but added he isn’t levelling criticism at Microsoft.
“Kids all over the country are playing these video games,” he told The Sun. “They don’t realise it could kill them.
“I’m not for one minute blaming the manufacturer of Xbox. It isn’t their fault that people use them for so long. But I want to highlight the dangers that can arise.
“Playing on it for so long is what killed him – and I don’t want another child to die.”
A statement from Microsoft said: “We recommend gamers take breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits.”
The report comes just a few days after The Sun published a report about an asthmatic teenage girl who suffered “a heart attack while playing on her Xbox”, and four months after it ran a widely-mocked report about how the Nintendo 3DS poses a health-risk and made players ill or dizzy.