What is gaming
Gaming is an interactive game form between man and computer. There are four different types of games that are played. Read more about this at “types of games and prices”.
A game can also be played in various ways. Players can do this themselves against the computer, or against each other, via the computer (for example online).
Types of games and prices
There are four different types of games that are played:
- Offline games: Destiny 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of war, FIFA 18
- Browser games: Candy Crush, Tribal Wars
- Mobile games: WordFeud, Angry Birds
- (Multiplayer) Online games: Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasty XIV
Online games are games in which you play together – over the internet – with others. This is possible with friends, but also anonymously with strangers. The smartphone, laptop, PC and game console (console: Playstation, WII, Xbox) are the most used to go online.
The smartphone is being used more often. 86% of young people have internet on their mobile (1). This is followed by the mobile gaming computer and tablet as a used device for going online (2).
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a subtype within the online games where it is mainly about developing a character (avatar) within a virtual world. Often this world is persistent (continues if you are not there) and the game can be played for almost infinite length. That means it cannot reach the final level. Well-known examples are Blade of Soul, Guild Wars 2 and Eve Online.
Gaming is a lot of fun. Games where you have to collaborate internationally with others can also be good for your language skills. Furthermore, according to the game industry, gaming can be good for your reaction speed, computer knowledge and hand / eye coordination. It also gives you perseverance.
In addition to the positive aspects, gaming can also take up too much space in someone’s life, making other matters less important. For example, school, friendships and sports. In those scenarios we speak of problematic gaming.
Prices of games
Prices can vary from free games on smartphones and on online websites, up to € 100 for a game on a PC or console.
New consoles usually cost around € 400. Consoles also have accessories and controllers, which also costs extra money.
For a number of years, micro-transactions have been a very popular revenue model for games. Many popular games are free, but can be expanded by a small contribution or by buying additional features, or tools can extend the character or capabilities of the game.
The most recent development in the revenue model of games goes one step further. With the loot box mechanism, players can obtain a treasure chest (loot box) in two ways: through prolonged, sometimes unrealistically long, playing the game. Or: by spending a small amount of real money. It is unclear in advance what the treasure chest contains, but the treasure chest is always opened with a lot of spectacle, so that the player really has the idea of receiving a gift.
Many popular games are free, but can be expanded with micropayments. Users can purchase desirable items or features if they lack the skill or available time to earn these through game-play. This adds a game of chance element to the game.
Although it is technically not a gamble, because no money can be earned, it is true that there are objects of value in the treasury for the player.
Until recently, loot boxes often contained cosmetic elements that did not influence the course of the game, such as a new hat or nicer pants for the character, but this year it seems to change: essential game elements are now also being put in the treasure boxes.
From a consumer perspective, this new revenue model produces a strange situation. Parents spend 70 euros to buy the latest version of a game for their child, such as the popular games Star Wars: Battlefront 2 or Middle Earth: Shadow of War. At first the games seem complete. However, the product being sold is intentionally incomplete, which makes the prospect of new purchases in the game more likely.
- Problematisch gebruik van gamen en sociale media bij jongens en meisjes (Van Rooij & Schoenmakers, 2013. Data uit 2012).
- Het (mobiele) gebruik van social media en games door jongeren, Van Rooij en Schoenmakers 2013
- Loot box of lot box: de vervagende grenzen tussen gamen en gokken, Van Rooij, blog Trimbos instituut november 2017
History of gaming
Gaming has grown into a market with one of the largest turnovers in the world. It started with the development of the first computers. This created the possibility to digitally visualize objects. The first arcade games arose from this in 1966. These games could be played for a quarter on large devices that were located in cafés and arcades.
The first real video console was the Atari. This became a huge success, partly due to the hugely popular game of Pong, released in 1975. From here the development of games has gone extremely fast. Games are nowadays played on consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, etc.), phones / tablets or on the PC.
Risks of excessive gaming
Gaming can get you into a rush. You become so absorbed in the game that you forget everything around you. You become one with the game. Some games are developed in such a way that a player experiences a lot of stress moments in a short time. It is the tension in the game that gets your adrenaline going.
In addition, after gaming you can be so busy with gaming that you can no longer concentrate on other activities such as school or work.
- Gaming takes too much time, which means you have less contact with friends and your parents.
- Gaming can be at the expense of work or study.
- You often sit behind the computer for longer than you originally intended.
- You think a lot about gaming so that you can no longer concentrate.
- Physical consequences can be: dry, tired or irritated eyes, headache, back pain, RSI, overweight, lack of exercise.
- Too much gaming can cause you to feel sad, angry or lonely because other things are going badly.
Addiction risks gaming
Gaming in itself is no problem. It can be fun and relaxing. In the meantime, more and more parents are asking: is my child sitting behind the computer for too long? Do I have to worry about him becoming addicted?
Many people think that you can only become addicted to drugs such as alcohol or drugs. But you can also become addicted to something you do, such as working, gambling or gaming. With game addiction, gaming is becoming increasingly important in one’s life.
In the Netherlands there are an estimated 1 million people who play games. 2% or 20,000 people are addicted (1). Only a small part seeks help. In 2013, 517 people were looking for help for internet gaming. In 2014 there were 544 people (2) and in 2015 537 people.
Addiction can arise by using something or doing something (gaming, gambling) but also has to do with the personality of the user and with his environment. These are also called the triangle of drug, (mind)set, setting.
Drug: type of game
Games can be made in such a way that they are addictive or that it takes an enormous amount of time to complete the game completely. With the game “Eve Online” you can travel endlessly through a huge universe. The universe comprises thousands of solar systems that are connected to me through one or more star gates. Together with others you fight against “evil”. In the game you can go one step higher every time to, for example, get better weapons.
The following features of the game encourage a lot of play or addiction:
- Immediate satisfaction of human needs such as social contact, recognition, status, prestige.
- Ability to flee in a virtual world.
- Competition with yourself and others.
- Have to play for a long time to reach a certain status.
- Need to work together with others to build a succesful society together
According to research, gaming can be addictive to certain people. Lonely people, people with low self-confidence and low social skills are more susceptible to game addiction than people who do not have these characteristics (1). You can also see in youth counselling that young people who register with a game addiction have many other problems.
Setting: gamers environment
Finally, the environment of the gamer can also encourage or prevent an addiction. Are the problems of the gamer noticed in time? How are the relationships at home? Are there enough options for the gamer to have fun in other ways? Are there rules that can limit the risks of gaming? Is there sufficient information available about problematic gaming?
Addiction is not a progressive disease
It is often thought that addiction is a progressive disease. That means that once you are addicted, the addiction always gets worse. With alcohol it is known that this is not the case. 74% recovered in a three-year period. In other words: if at a certain moment you have 100 addicts in the picture and you follow these three years, then after three years 74 people no longer meet the criteria of addiction (3).
Such a percentage is not known for internet addiction, but it is likely that after 3 years a much larger proportion will have recovered than with alcohol. Internet addiction has a much lower physical impact than alcohol.
Gaming does not only have to be negative. It is also a game that can be enjoyed. Games where you have to collaborate internationally with others can also be good for your language skills. Furthermore, according to the game industry, gaming can be good for your reaction speed, computer knowledge and hand / eye coordination. It also gives you perseverance.
In the future, the games will only become more interesting. There will be games in 3D which makes fleeing in a visual world even more attractive. The possibilities to be a certain type in a game or to fulfil a certain role will only be expanded.
Lemmens, J. Causes and Consequences of pathological gaming. Universiteit van Amsterdam november 2010
Kerncijfers Verslavingszorg 2015, SIVZ.
Bruijn, C. et al. Alcoholisme: een chronische recidiverende ziekte? Het beloop van alcoholgerelateerde stoornissen in de algemene bevolking (2006). In: Verslaving, vaktijdschrift over de verslavingsproblematiek.
How to reduce risks of gaming
There are five forms to reduce the risks of gaming:
- Information about the risks
- Check-ups whether you are playing in a risky way
- Make agreements about the number of hours you gamed. you can use the Game Hours Card for this.
- Introduce rules that games must comply with.
- For parents or educators: the emphasis is not too much on gaming, but on desirable behaviour.
You can point out the risks to starting gamers. You can make them think about questions such as: how can you keep gaming fun? When do you think gaming gets out of hand?
You can encourage gamers to check-up on their behaviour reaching a dependent level. This is possible with the Test your gaming behaviour test? > is er niet in het Engels
The most important preventive measure is making agreements (for example between parents and their child) about the number of hours you play. Write down this agreement and check whether you can stick to it. You can use the Week card for gaming > is er niet in het Engels. It is difficult to say what is reasonable. That can be an hour, two hours or two and a half hours.
It is also important that you look critically at your gaming behaviour. Keep track of how many hours you play. Do you get irritated when you can’t play games? Is gaming at the expense of your night’s rest, sports or friends? Does anyone ever make a negative comment about your gaming? In any case, it is very important that gaming should not be at the expense of sleep, sports, friends or your family.
If you stick to the following rules you can keep gaming fun:
- Determine in advance how many hours per day you want to play. It is difficult to say how many hours that may be: 1 hour, 2 hours, 2.5 hours. If it gets more, it quickly comes at the expense of other important things.
- Keep track of how many hours you game per day. You can play with the weekly card.> niet in het engels
- Make agreements about the number of hours you can play. For example 2 hours a day. Use the weekly gaming card for this too.
- Don’t let gaming go at the expense of other things that are important in life such as: night’s rest, work, hobbies and friends.
- Remember that you are an example for your family. Stay social, do something together. If you get behind the computer when you get home and are unreachable for everyone, you are not really enjoying yourself.
- Achieve goals during the day with gaming. Do not meet other players at night to reach goals.
- Pay attention to signals from too much gaming such as: being irritated when you can’t play, often thinking about gaming and spending a lot of time gaming.
- Don’t make gaming too important.
Don’t put too much emphasis on gaming
In the case of undesirable behaviour, we may be inclined to focus attention on the communication. This certainly is counterproductive with young people. A more positive approach is to give responsibilities appropriate to the age and when you live in the house with several people. Some examples can be:
- As long as you live at home, you eat with us at least four times a week.
- It is important that you provide for your own maintenance. Like paying for your own telephone and healthcare insurance costs
- I think it’s important that you learn to cook. What do you think of cooking a meal for us once a week?
- It is your job to ensure that the garbage is out on time and the old paper is gone.
- If you do not keep to the agreements, how are you going to make up for this?
Advantages of decreasing/stopping with gaming
- Better performances while studying or at work.
- Undertaking sports and social events.
- Feelings of restlessness, gloom and also aggression diminish.
- You become more active thus you postpone less.
- Improving the relationship with family and friends.
- You are more social.
At the moment there are few rules that can restrict gaming. In China and Vietnam where game addiction is present, there are rules to limit gaming. In general you can think of the following rules:
- Mandatory warning. Games may have a mandatory warning that the game can be addictive. Games could also be required to inform about the risks.
- Feedback. Games may be required to provide feedback on the number of hours you play.
- Game interruption. It could be built into the game that the game stops automatically after 2 or 3 hours. In China, in a wet sprawl, parents have the opportunity to block a game on a computer.
- Times that can be played. In Vietnam it is no longer possible to play after 8 pm. It is only possible to play again at 8.00 a.m.
Lemmens, J. Causes en Consequences of pathological gaming. Universiteit van Amsterdam november 2010
How to recognise gamers?
Symptoms of game addiction or internet addiction
- Gaming or using the internet comes at the expense of other important things, such as school or study, sports and social contacts. Sometimes even at the expense of sleep.
- You become restless, cranky or aggressive if you are not allowed to play
- You get bored if you are not allowed to play
- You get irritated if you are disturbed while gaming
- You joke about the number of hours that are played
- You are still busy gaming in your mind, even when you are not at the computer
- You want to play a little less, but in practice it doesn’t work
- You are uncomfortable at home and when you get home you immediately get behind the computer.
How can you recognize multi-gamers?
- Spend a lot of time gaming.
- Gaming is at the expense of the night’s rest.
- Gaming comes at the expense of school (homework), work, friends and hobbies.
- The gamer becomes aggressive and irritated when gaming is not possible or when restrictions are imposed.
- The gamer often thinks of gaming.
- The gamer is uncomfortable in the house.
Versie: april 2020