What’s the problem in problem gaming?

This new Nordicom anthology, titled What is the problem in problem gaming?, tackles the debate about young people’s gaming habits and the highly contested con­cept of “video game addiction”. 

In January of 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed to include “gaming disorder” and “hazardous gaming” in the 11th International Classification of Diseases, which means that game addiction is officially classified as a disease. 

This Nordicom anthology questions the concept of video game addiction as a psychological pathology ascribed to the individual. Such a research focus builds on the idea that excessive amount of gameplay can be a sign of “addiction” in a manner similar to the way that, for example, the drug addict is addicted to a chemical substance. In this way, the majority of research on video game addiction has emerged by applying concepts and definitions of addiction from existing disciplines to the field of video games. 

Instead, this anthology helps to steer the research agenda towards a situated understanding of problem gaming as something that takes place between people in the socio-cultural context of everyday life. The authors argue that the “addiction approach” is in danger of seriously missing what is really at stake in problematic use of video games. In this anthology, the authors instead explore the many possible ways “problem gaming” may be studied once letting go of the “addiction” as the primary framework. 

The chapters provide a number of perspectives on the issue, such as players’ life conditions and lifestyle choices, problem gaming from a family perspective, the voice of treatment professionals, and how game design can become problematic. 

The book is a timely contribution and an essential read for researchers in the field as well as for policymakers, social workers, clinical psychologists, teachers and other who encounter problem gaming in their profession.  


Download the book as open access or order a print copy