Making the Online World Less Addictive – and More Popular

Yulia Nevskaya, assistant professor of marketing at Olin Business School

 

In June 2018, the World Health Organisation added gaming addiction to its International Classification of Diseases. That the WHO would place video games alongside alcohol, gambling and illegal drugs reflects a rising social concern over their impact, specifically as regards boys and young men (the majority of so-called “core gamers” – those for whom gaming is more than a casual pastime – are males under 35).

Why now? Video games have been around for decades, but experts say the new breed is precision-tooled (often with the help of psychology experts) to encourage compulsive use. Social media operates in much the same dopamine-driven fashion, drip-feeding enthralled users doses of digital happiness in the form of likes and retweets. Today’s games are also much more technologically sophisticated than their 20th-century forebears, offering an entryway into a vividly detailed, immersive universe from virtually any internet-enabled device.

The increasing public concern has not gone unnoticed by government regulators.

Read the full piece in Insead Knowledge.

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