Gaming addiction has gone mobile

Mobile Gaming

Video game addiction is real.

As much as we say we don’t play that much, we really do. My experience of video game addiction was when I was young – I would sit and play the whole weekend, literally for the whole weekend. I would only sleep for 5 hours the entire weekend (damn you Final Fantasy IX).

This affected my school work and my health; I felt tired and irritable all the time. Hours would pass by and I would just sit there and play. I cannot tell you what I did to “cure” this but I don’t do it anymore. Maybe it’s just having other things to do now that keeps me from playing games for long sessions. Everyone blames World of Warcraft, and it is true that this game does get addictive and has caused issues in the past, but there are many other games out there that have addictive qualities, and there are people I know who are addicted and do not even know it.

But know there is a new type of (nose) Candy on the videogaming block – Candy Crush Saga.

Mark Griffiths is the director at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham University, and he says that certain aspects of these freemuim games, played at a young age, could lead to gambling problems when older.

“Children who play those free games are more likely to gamble and more likely to develop problem gambling behaviours. These are gateway activities that can lead people down the gambling road,” he said.

Professor Griffiths adds: “It’s a bit like the old drug-dealing analogy of giving a bit for free and hooking them in. Games like Candy Crush have a moreishness quality, a bit like chocolate. You say you’ll just have one chunk and you end up having the whole lot. So you say, “I’ll just play for 15 minutes” and you end up still there four or five hours later.”

I live with people addicted to Candy Crush Saga, and I have seen this first hand. They get stuck on one stage, try again and again, and then spend money on lives. Then you get the push notification that your lives have been refilled and they start all over again. It is a vicious cycle.

I strongly believe that there is a difference when it comes to mobile gaming addiction and hardcore gaming addition. Our addiction lies in wanting more of our games, we do not have to wait for lives to refill, or the social network platforms to aid our progression, we strive for higher levels and better equipment, we cannot wait to see what happens next. The mobile gaming world is different.

People want what they cannot have. You play a game and cannot continue until you buy lives, you are happy to buy them because you know what the game offers. This goes hand in hand with the gambling aspect, you risk that money knowing that you could lose it or make progress.

Around 60% of Candy Crush players have never paid a cent in-game, but the game is quite clear on what you pay for if you do, and it’s always something that you want. So you start off thinking that you are playing a free game and it shrewdly makes you believe that it is better if you pay for it.

The social aspect of the game is the most annoying part of it. Your friends can help you in the game with items and lives and this is contagious. After just a few invites you have your items needed from your friends. Then you ask another friend and they ask more friends for items, even people who don’t own the game get requests, and they download it and send requests. Before you know it the company is making $875 382 a day thanks to your one request for lives.

All these aspects lead to the game’s success and, ultimately, to our ruin. Mobile gaming addiction is something that I have never experienced, and I already have issues spending money on costume DLC for games like Borderlands 2 and Lightning Returns: FF XIII.

I would never spend money to continue playing a game on my smartphone or tablet. The truth is, that even our costume DLC has more value than 5 more lives in Candy Crush and there is less risk involved in buying costume DLC.

What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you think that children of today will becomes heavy gamblers due to Candy Crush? Have you ever been addicted to a game? Let us know in the comments and forum.

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  • Alex Rowley

    It really is the responsibility of the parents to make sure their kids are not being negatively affected by things.

    Timmy is spending too much time playing on his phone? take phone away. Simple as that.

    Games can be a huge time sink and honestly it can sneak up on you, but if you have someone who actually points out it’s becoming a problem it helps immensely. the worst I have gotten was for Guild Wars 2. One day I typed /age into the message box and I realized maybe I should give it a break lol.

  • McTSA

    Huge “plus one” to this!

    My kids are 10 and 5. Both love playing games on tablets, Wii and computer. Both love TV.

    Left to their own devices (no pun intended), they would do this 24/7.

    It is my responsibility entirely to guide and raise them as best I know how. Therefore, gaming is virtually limited to an hour a day on average. Some days nothing at all.

    TV is limited too. In the mornings before school they do not watch at all. They spend time reading, playing with Lego or Zoob!, drawing, etc.TV is no longer an obsession because of this. They are now less dependent on this. Even when TV is in a so-called free time, they often end up doing something else creative or outside.

    The responsibility is mine.

  • Johan Lewis Last

    This is so true, now if we can only get the other 99.9% of parents to read this. When I watch tv, which is like maybe once in 3 months, I watch Discovery channel, and my 6 year old niece watches with me and asks me questions. When I am not watching tv, they switch the tv on, select “kiddie” channel and walk away. I’ve watched this so called kiddie channels, a bunch of bull on it if you ask me. The children don’t actually learn anything except how to play. Parents should be parenting and not just be providers. When I grew up both of my parents were parenting us and both of them worked. No excuse for current parents.

  • Alex Rowley

    Kids cartoons are very weird now. They seem to rely a lot on random humor and have no moral message at the end of them.I’m not really against this as I think you didn’t learn anything from cartoons anyway but I find very strange when comparing it to things I used to watch.

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