In today’s world, we cannot imagine life without technology. From food processors to transportation, from work to entertainment, and even maintaining relationships and connections, technologies have surely made their way into our lives.
Even during the pandemic, when everyone was confined to their homes and could not effectively access the outside world, they found comfort in technology, through social media, OTT or games.
The rise of gaming platforms has seen the emergence of behavioral disorders or problematic behaviors related to gaming.
Gambling becomes problematic when it begins to cause significant impairment and distress in your psychological, biological, or social aspects of life. Problematic online gambling does not necessarily mean addiction, which is a disorder with characteristic clinical features such as craving, tolerance, withdrawal, and salience with or without disturbances in other spheres of life.
Prevalence of gambling disorder
Although it may seem that the pandemic has ejected us from a new angle, the DSM 5 (DSM-5 is a manual for the assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders) had already declared gambling addiction as a behavioral addiction in 2013 , ICD recently introduced it in its 11th edition. At Psymate, we have seen an increase in the number of patients with gaming disorders. A marginal increase in gaming has been reported at all hours of the day, with an average peak period of 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. young people are in the majority.
How can we classify these games?
● MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) are online games that have a large number of players present in the same virtual world at the same time and can play the game simultaneously. There are several types of MMOGs, including:
1. MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). Here, role-playing means the player takes an in-game avatar.
2. MMOFPS (Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter). These games are played from the perspective of the player character, with guns and shooting combat playing an important role in the gameplay loop.
3. MMORTS (Massively Multiplayer Online Real-Time Strategy). They play out like war strategy games, with players taking on the role of a leader, commanding a kingdom or army, and making decisions that further their cause.
Other types of games include online board games, puzzle games, simulation games, etc.
Online games can be completely free, as in games where the player does not have to pay at any time, neither for access to the game nor for additional incentives. But as the gaming world has progressed into the new era, games usually start out as free games (F2P or FTP), allowing gamers to access a large percentage of their hardware without having to pay.
Although you can play for free, some content will require micro-transactions or other forms of payment to obtain. Then proceed to Buy to Play, in this the player has to pay a certain amount before they get access to the game. However, they only have to pay once. After that, the new model is presented as “Pay to play”, in this case a monthly subscription is required to access the game.
Why are online games so interesting and rewarding?
1. By adding socialization features, which include:
● Activity feed: this allows users to share their experience in the application and follow the progress of other users.
● In-game chat allows players to communicate while playing the game, eliminating the need to switch apps and providing an optional experience.
● Players can be notified of various game activities, such as when it’s their turn to play, when they want to send a challenge, etc.
● Guilds: This feature allows players to form communities based on their common interests, playstyles and levels of involvement. People can exchange stubs, play games together, make new friendships, etc.
2. Inclusion of narrative and identity traits. They are immersive and often tell a story that immerses you in a fictional universe. The story is similar to picking up a good book that takes your mind off your reality a bit as you get absorbed in the character’s struggles and goals.
3. In games, a feedback function is added, which is a reaction. The game reacts to actions taken by the player and vice versa. Players are rewarded and punished in many ways, such as gaining resources, discovering new regions, learning new skills, or losing health points or items.
4. The inclusion of mood-enhancing features and in-game presentation features such as graphics, 3D definitions, etc., makes the player want to return to this beautiful world and stay there for longer .
Red flags to watch out for:
● You find yourself preoccupied with games for most of the day.
● Your inability to limit playing time and unsuccessful attempts to stop it.
(The author is a psychiatrist at Psymate Noida)
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Posted: Saturday February 19th 2022, 6:27 PM IST