The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended playing video games as a safety measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, despite the WHO had previously classified video game addiction as an official mental disorder in 2019.
Last year, the WHO had classified video game addiction as an official mental health disorder and added “Gaming Disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases or “ICD-11”, which takes effect in January 2022, CBS News reported on 28 May 2019.
The WHO claimed that the diagnosis is not solely due to excessive gaming but also when it interferes with the person’s everyday life, adding that gaming behavior normally evident for at least 12 months in order to be diagnosed.
However, in the wake of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the WHO had recently recommended playing video games as a way to promote physical distancing.
According to Insider’s article, several video games companies including Activision Blizard and Riot Games have initiated a campaign titled #PlayApartTogether which abides by the WHO’s guidelines for physical distancing and aims to bring people together amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative,” said Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick.
Following that, the WHO ambassador for global strategy, Ray Chambers stated that he hopes the gaming industry can reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, USA Today reported on 29 March.
Mr Chambers also tweeted on 29 March, saying “We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives.”
We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives. https://t.co/QhX0ssN0lH
— Ray Chambers (@RaymondChambers) March 28, 2020
Meanwhile, other game companies in the United States also expressed their support for the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Some of the game companies are including War Dragon and Zynga who tweeted about their support for the campaign.
— War Dragons (@WarDragonsGame) March 28, 2020
— Zynga (@zynga) March 28, 2020