Addictions come in many forms; alcohol, drugs, tobacco, adrenalin, and so on. But one particular addiction has become more and more prominent in recent years. Video games have never been more popular, and more accessible than they are today. The global video games market was worth over 78 billion dollars in 2017, and is projected to surpass 90 billion dollars by 2020. Popular games such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto are major players in the industry. Fortnite alone has over 125 million players across all platforms, and sees over 40 million users log in to play every single month. Not only do people love playing these games, but they also like to watch other people play as well. The streaming service Twitch is a site that broadcasts live games for others to watch. The most watched streamer would be the gamer Ninja, who had over 635,000 people watch his Fortnite match with rappers Drake and Travis Scott. Clearly there is a huge market in video games, but how much does the average person play?
“I play about 4 hours a day,” says Fanshawe student Nick Grant. “I mostly just play the popular games, but once in a while I find a hidden gem that gets me hooked.”
Almost anything can become addictive, and it can be a slippery slope. It can interfere with a person’s job, school work, social life and their sleeping patterns.
“It works in very similar ways to the behavioural addictions,” explains April Laithwaite, who is an addictions counselor. “It impacts the brain in the same ways, such as increasing dopamine levels. So this is very similar to the chemical addictions like drugs and alcohol.”
Video games are a lot of fun, but you should be cautious all the same. Addiction can sneak up on you, and it is better to see the signs early on before it’s too late.