The designer whose claims in tonight’s Panorama that some games developers are deliberately employing psychologically addictive techniques to keep users playing their games has elaborated on his argument.
Adrian Hon, the founder and CCO of Six to Start and former director of play at Moshi Monsters creators Mind Candy, points out that not all engagement with games is positive.
“Does this mean that games are addictive? In a strict sense, no,” he writes in the Telegraph. “Addiction refers to the ingestion of substances that directly alter the brain’s chemistry, and since you can’t eat videogames, they don’t qualify.
“Having said that, it’s generally accepted that gambling, eating, shopping and watching TV – under the right circumstances – can generate compulsive behaviours among a minority of people. Whether you call it addiction or not doesn’t change the harmful effects.”
Hon, who confesses to having annoyed his girlfriend by staying up all night playing Civilization V, then argues that games are indeed a special case.