You are ripping out nazi hearts, saving the princess, shooting zombies with your tripped-out ray gun, or winning the Fortnite championship. You are having fun. That can’t be so bad, right?
Gaming is no longer just a simple joystick, game-over-screen, after-school endeavor. Gaming is a $135 billion enterprise with dozens upon dozens of job disciplines. From Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, to even the smartphone in your pocket, this is an industry with no limits. Seriously, this industry’s 11% yearly revenue increase since 2017 indicates that the gaming industry is not going anywhere anytime soon. ‘Demand Gamer’ allows you to get in on the industry by investing in this fast-growing sector, providing access to companies involved with video game development, esports, and more. If you are an avid gamer or simply recognize the opportunity, ‘Demand Gamer’ provides access.
The industry is booming, but what impact is this massive industry having on you? Corporations are making millions by creating these life-consuming games (games they don’t want you to put down), yet what are you getting? Great games, of course, but what about – sore eyes? Headaches? An empty bank account? Forbes defines “gaming addiction” as a “pattern of gaming behavior” that leads to “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.” Sound familiar?
It is worth talking about.
We aren’t here to make ghosts out of “video game addiction” or scare soccer moms away from technology. Most gamers don’t have a gaming addiction, but many gamers can display negative symptoms without realizing it. We are talking about real effects, off the screen, when we game without limits.
So, what are video games doing to you?
Your Wallet’s Health
Can you remember that sweet feeling of peeling the plastic off the latest game? Saving to pop that thin black case and load up the CD? And then you simply got to play your game with no strings attached. Now it’s ‘23,000 tokens for a rare skin’ or ‘finish the story in the DLC (downloadable content) out now’.
The industry has evolved into a multibillion-dollar beast for a reason. Video game companies want to squeeze you for as much money as possible. They create addicting games, then pound you for more funds to keep playing – a trick as old as arcades. But these games are $60 and token packs are another $20, not to mention streaming subscriptions. SuperData, the leading gaming research company, found that millennials spend an average of $112 a month on gaming (only $20 more than Gen. Z, who came in at a whopping $90). $90-$112 is a significant monthly bill. (Enough to pay your electricity.)
Without limits, the monthly cost of gaming could be well above $100. This is great if you have the funds, but for many people, excessive gaming puts savings accounts, bills, and groceries in serious danger.
Your Physical health
When your mom told you not to sit so close to the TV, “you’ll burn your eyes out!”. She wasn’t totally wrong.
An article for the Journal of Addiction Medicine and Therapeutic Science, states that “extensive and fixed staring at a video game screen causes eye strain because the cornea, pupil, and iris are not biologically equipped for chronic heavy viewing”. They continue by revealing that frequent overuse leads to headaches, dizziness and sometimes even nausea and vomiting. Other physical symptoms of gaming excessively, listed by the Journal, include:
Possible carpal tunnel syndrome by overuse of a controller or mouse
Poor personal hygiene (hey, we didn’t say it)
Don’t be that cliché gamer covered in Dorito cheese with bandaged thumbs. Consider if your gaming habits have gone without limits and are negatively impacting your physical health.
Your Mental Health
Excessive gaming has become so common, in fact, that a new ICD-11 classification has been created for “gaming disorder,” meaning that this will become an official health condition. So much so that it is categorized under “disorders due to addictive behaviors,” right next to “gambling disorder”. Like any addictive disorder, gaming to excess revolves around an illusion of control. One hour of gaming turns into six turned into a weekend while you still think you are in control of how much you play. This amount of time is not necessarily bad – if you have a free weekend. The danger lies when you begin to push aside significant aspects of your life, damaging them so that you can game. In short, game binge when you are off for a weekend = okay. Game binge for a weekend when you have a project due Monday = bad, very bad.
The Bottom Line
Gaming in moderation presents highly entertaining and beneficial effects. You can burn off steam after a long week, with some good clean fun, thrilled by challenges and captivating stories. But, playing games without limits can enter you into a time vacuum where six hours have passed and all the things that were meant to get done today, well, didn’t. When gaming takes priority over your career, education, or even your relationships, it might be time to consider what is going on and what long term effects might transpire. After all, you can’t game when your electricity gets cut off, but you can always ask your Dad for his old D&D and a candle.