Care to Back That Up?

Expert: 40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted | TwitchGuru

Ah, yes, another “Games are The Ruin of Society” expert. In this week’s episode, the good Dr. Maressa Orzack. Dr. Orzack is the founder of Computer Addiction Services, which in no way compromises her objectiveness. She is “swamped” with addicted gamers coming into her addicted gamer treatment center, which is a hell of a coincidence.

World of Warcraft takes center-stage in this interview with TwitchGuru, a shocking turn for the press as it finally shifts its focus from the glamorous world of Hello Kitty console games and handheld, stand-alone Yahtzee units. Shining a dim light on the underbelly of the gaming world, Dr. Orzack absolves the gamer and places the blame squarely where it belongs; on the game company.

They design these MMOs to keep people in the game. I do think the problem is tied in with other things like family issues, but the games themselves are inherently addictive. That’s ultimately the cause of the problem. [emphasis mine]

Those poor victims of Blizzard’s dastardly plan to rule the world via subscription. Ah, then we get to my favorite part of the show; the numbers.

Well, let’s take World of Warcraft as an example. Let’s say there are around 6 million subscribers for the game. I’d say that 40 percent of the players are addicted.

Wow, 40%?  2.4 million people are addicted to World of Warcraft? Can any other drug, game, or activity claim a 40% addiction rate (besides the crack they are apparently handing out to researchers)? And how did she arrive at this  statistic? We have no idea. There are no citations, no studies mentioned, just some number plucked from the air by a doctor with much to gain by propagating the idea of widespread, highly-contagious addiction to an entertainment media.

Now, do I think people can be addicted to video games? Sure, why not. People are addicted to the oddest things: food, gambling, spray paint. But, do I think that 40% of WoW players are addicts. Hell no. Of course the game is designed to pull you in, that’s its purpose. No one would pay $15 a month to play something that wasn’t compelling. But, at it’s heart, it’s a game and if you can’t let go of the game, the problem is you, not the game.

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