Gaming addiction has gone mobile

Yes kids, getting hooked on a mobile game can happen – beware!

March 30, 2014
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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Tags: addiction, gaming addiction, headline, mobile gaming

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