Smith& Jones Addiction Consultants is opening Europe's first detox clinic for video game addicts in Amsterdam.
It is reported that about a dozen clinics already exist in the United States and Canada, and even one in China, as problem gaming gains recognition as an ailment requiring treatment. According to the article referenced below, Keith Bakker, director of Smith& Jones Addiction Consultants, has stated that although video games may look innocent, they can be as addictive as gambling or drugs.
Others, like Richard Wood, a professor of International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, are reported to be sceptical about viewing heavy gamers as addicts.
The medical debate on whether heavy gaming can be deemed an addiction will necessarily have an impact on the legal field. Already violence in video games is being used to explain, if not justify, the violent actions of players. Will video gaming addiction stand as a defense, or as a mitigating factor, in criminal law? What about employment law? In many jurisdictions some addictions are recognized as a handicap protected by human rights and employment standards legislation. Will an employer have to accommodate and offer treatment of an employee's video gaming addiction?