Recently Toronto CityNews put out a piece on the dangers of Video Game Addiction that earned them ire in the public eye.
The premise of the piece is that the World Health Organization (WHO) classified video game addiction as a disease in late 2017 to early 2018. As such CityNews reporter Nitish Bissonauth visited the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo to speak with experts and gamers about both the growing demand and possible dangers of gaming. While the premise is fair enough and none would argue that video game addiction is not a real nor serious condition that many may be faced with, the general reaction to the piece was overwhelmingly negative.
Some professional gamers tweeting out their displeasure, one representative there TorontoJoe a competitive Super Smash Bros. player tweeting “.@NBissonauth @CityNews Embarrassing level of journalism with your recent gaming piece. Shady to speak to gaming enthusiasts at a large meetup & spin their answers to serve your own agenda against them. Baiting responses without giving any context to your questions is shameful.”
Many members of the Toronto gaming community shared this viewpoint that their answers given during interviews were for misleading questions or altogether different questions. In fact, watching the video released by CityNews itself it is clear many members of the community feel very positively about gaming. Bissonauth presents one view point as saying that “there are also some benefits especially to some technology such as virtual reality.”
The viewpoint being: “A kid learns about the Roman coliseum not only can he learn about it and read about it but you can put him in the Roman coliseum, it’s gonna [SIC] open up a lot of doors for people to learn in a more interactive way.”
There was also a large push to discredit both CityNews and Bissonauth by the community, primarily by pointing out moments in the video that are meant to shock people. One such moment has an interviewee being asked how often they play games, and their answer is approximately 10 hours a week. This was noted to be a healthy amount of time to spend on a preliminary hobby by many. The other issue with the report is shared with the actual classification made by the WHO. As, currently, it is under heavy debate whether or not the WHO is correct. It is being stated that while signs and symptoms can be recognized, it cannot yet be called a disorder. The ones saying this are: the Entertainment Software Association of the United States and Interactive Software Federation of Europe, mental health experts at Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, Stockholm University and the University of Sydney.
The final issue many took with the piece is that it felt like “it took my words and twisted them to fit their narrative.” As Ryan Ford on Twitter says. While there is no fundamental proof of this past what people who were interviewed are saying, it is absolutely clear that the public felt somewhat betrayed by CityNews’ piece on the gaming convention.
It may be a long time before the gaming public which as Bissonauth points out is a massive one billion people trust mainstream news organizations with covering their events again.