UK Parliament seeks views on whether gaming is ‘harmful or helpful to society’

The UK Parliament is launching a new inquiry into whether gaming is "harmful or helpful" to society.

The House of Commons’ Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has called for "gamers and young people" to submit their views for a new inquiry they are running on immersive and addictive technologies. The research also seeks feedback from those working in the games industry.

In a press statement issued earlier today, the committee states it is examining the development of immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and the potential impact these have in the worlds of sport, entertainment and news. The inquiry will also look at "the addictive nature of some technologies" and how they can affect users, particularly younger people.

"Is gaming harmful or helpful to society? How does the design of a game keep you playing for longer? What help is needed for people who are concerned about the amount they are gaming?" the committee asks. "What responsibilities do games designers have to their players? Are young people disproportionately affected by the addictive qualities of games and apps?"

The inquiry also poses the question "what makes the UK a world leader in gaming and VR/AR and how can the industry be supported?"

Feedback can now be submitted via the DCMS Committee website. Written evidence should be no more than 3,000 words in length, be in Word format ("with as little use of colour or logos as possible"), and have numbered paragraphs.

This news comes just days after it was revealed that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) met at the end of 2018 to discuss the WHO’s decision last year to declare "gaming disorder" as an official addictive disorder in the 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

"It’s our hope that through continued dialogue we can help the WHO avoid rushed action and mistakes that could take years to correct," ESA head Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement. British trade body UKIE – which also attended the World Health Organisation talks back in December – said in a statement that it hopes "continued dialogue" will enable WHO to "reconsider the mounting evidence put before them before the final version of ICD-11 is endorsed next year".

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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