In September 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it had classified gaming addiction as a disorder. With the implementation of self-isolation guidelines, it has now suggested people game to keep sane. What a rollercoaster this COVID-19 pandemic is turning out to be.
On the WHO’s website it defines gaming disorder as having “…impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Well, due to self-isolation and the current lockdown in South Africa due to COVID-19, people are turning to video games in a bid to stay somewhat sane. A turn of events the WHO didn’t expect, because it recently teamed up with gaming companies to promote gaming as a safe pass time. We tend to agree with that.
Though we aren’t physically together, we’re still united.
We love our communities and want you all to be as safe as possible – follow the recommendations of the @WHO, practice physical distancing, take care of yourselves and each other, and #PlayApartTogether. pic.twitter.com/EcK4tVGAp2
— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) March 28, 2020
It’s called the #PlayApartTogether initiative, in which the WHO is collaborating with 18 game developers and industry leaders to promote gaming throughout a stressful time. This includes Activision Blizzard, Amazon Appstore, Big Fish Games, DirtyBit, Glu Mobile, Jam City, Kabam, Maysalward, Playtika, Pocket Gems, Riot Games, SciPlay, Snap Games, Twitch, Unity, Wooga, YouTube Gaming and Zynga.
Through the initiative, they’re targeting all levels of gamers, from mobile through to PC and console. But the overall message is inherently clear: stay at home and load up a game. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We do understand where this change of heart is coming from. We don’t want people, especially those with mental illness, to turn to habits that are bad for their health. Gaming is a perfectly healthy way to stay in contact with others while stimulating your mind. We do feel that this is something that should have been taken into account when defining ‘video game addiction’ in 2018.
— Riot Games (@riotgames) March 28, 2020
Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered for the WHO (which is kind of ironic in a way) to realise how video games can play a vital role in keeping people sane and entertained. If you’re keen on some cool mobile games, here are our favourites at the moment — help us prove the WHO wrong.