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Games industry only "paying lip service" to addiction, says DCMS select committee chair

Games industry only "paying lip service" to addiction, says DCMS select committee chair

The chair on a Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee into addictive and immersive technologies Damian Collins (pictured) has said that the games industry isn't taking addiction seriously enough.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the UK MP said that the industry is only "paying lip service" to the issue and isn't being pro-active enough on the matter.

"I don't think the industry is engaging with these topics directly, and that's what's been certain to us throughout the inquiry," he said.

"I think the concerns are real, particularly around gaming addiction... The consistent message we've had from the big game companies is this is not something they proactively monitor themselves."

Since video game addiction - or gaming disorder - was set to be added to the World Health Organisation's list of diseases, video games trade bodies from around the world have said that there needs to be more research into the matter before making such a move. This was a point that the trade body boss reiterated yesterday, and it's an argument that Collins has no patience for.

"Ultimately they hold the data, they decide - if they are sharing data - what they share, they decide who has access to it and how they have access to it, and that is never going to allow a proper forensic study of these issues," he said.

"So it ultimately falls back to the government to look at things like the Online Harms White Paper, to look at the role of regulators with legal powers to run these sorts of investigations themselves, if industries or big companies don't want to facilitate them."

UKIE, TIGA, King.com and the British Esports Association were before the select committee yesterday, following a less-than-stellar showing from EA and Epic Games the week before.


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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