NEWS GAME: World Health Organization and ESA meet to discuss gaming disorder diagnosis

Formal dialogue last month aimed to inform, “avoid rushed action and mistakes”

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the World Health Organziation (WHO) have revealed today that the two groups came together back in December of last year to discuss the WHO’s inclusion last year of “gaming disorder” as an official addictive disorder.

The WHO made this official last June in its section of addictive disorders in the 11th International Classification of Diseases. The inclusion was met with criticism from across the gaming industry, with the ESA at the time saying it “recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder.”

According to Reuters, the two groups met in Geneva last month to discuss the issue, exchange information, and share views on upcoming WHO activities related the industry and how gaming will play a role in those.

The ESA called “more conversation and education” before WHO classifications were finalized and took effect.

“It’s our hope that through continued dialogue we can help the WHO avoid rushed action and mistakes that could take years to correct,” said ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis. “The billions of video game players around the world who will be affected by an ICD-11 classification error deserve action based on meticulous research.

“As an industry we are committed to collaborating with stakeholders, researchers, policymakers, and parents to ensure best-in-class ratings, parental controls, and other tools help video game players and parents understand and manage healthy video game play.”

The WHO has said another future meeting with the ESA was tentatively in the works.

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