Devolver's Wilson says it's time to take more responsibility about video game addiction

Devolver's Wilson says it's time to take more responsibility about video game addiction

Games industry veteran Mike Wilson has said that it's time the industry took more ownership of what it was putting in games and that companies cannot simply dismiss addiction concerns.

Speaking at Reboot Develop Red - as reported by - the co-founder of indie games labels Devolver Digital and Good Shepherd said that the industry should be trying to bring about positive change through its output.

"We're feeding the country, we're feeding the world, and we choose what we put into our creations – which are often the result of what we've been fed. We are the pharmaceutical companies," he said.

"We're where people are turning in their most vulnerable moments; when they're feeling their lowest, or they're feeling like a piece of shit, or life isn't working out as it should, because we live in this winners and losers society that is based on all kinds of things that are almost impossible to achieve for young people now.

"I'm not saying I have the answer. All I'm asking you to do is listen to my story and think about what we're feeding people. Just be a little bit more intentional. Whether you think these are drugs – and by the way, I'm not against drugs at all -- but if we're going to be drug dealers, let's offer people psychedelics. Let's offer people something that's going to help them expand and grow. Let's not offer them crack-cocaine. Let's not offer them meth. Let's not literally mine for addicts.

"Even drug dealers, even pharmaceutical companies, would never use terms like 'user acquisition' and 'monetisation.' Now I'm sure there are great ways to do those, too, but I'm not familiar with them. And I don't intend to become familiar.

"Are we, collectively, gonna get our shit together and be intentional about what we're feeding our friends, ourselves, the general public, young people at their most vulnerable state? Then who's going to do that? Are we gonna leave it to the casino bosses? Are we gonna leave it to the people talking about user acquisition and monetisation? Are we gonna try and compete in that game?"

Wilson has in the past spoken about the dangers of working culture at triple-A companies, saying it is destroying lives. He is part of the video games mental health charity Take This. Video game addiction was added to the World Health Organisation's official list of diseases earlier this year as 'gaming disorder'.

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 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, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.