Video Game Addiction: Is It Real?

– Come on, let’s go, let’s go. Let’s go! If you’re a gamer, you probably know that
those hilarious dances are all emotes from the hit
video game Fortnite. It’s become one of the most successful video games of all time, with more than 125 million players, raking in over $300 million
a month for its publisher. But as the game is taking over the world, there’s a rising panic that some gamers are getting full-on addicted, with headlines like
“Parenting the Fortnite Addict” and “I almost lost my sons to Fortnite” popping up all over the place. Even the World Health Organization is worried about video games. Just recently, it officially recognized gaming disorder as a
mental health condition. But it’s not that simple. The American Psychiatric
Association isn’t convinced, and says there’s not
enough research showing that video game addiction
is its own disorder. So what’s going on? Is video game addiction really a thing? Okay, so first of all, I’m not a gamer. The only reason I knew those dances was because they existed before Fortnite, or I’ve seen them on Instagram. But I do have a lot of friends who game, and I can’t tell you how
many times I’ve shown up to kick it with people, and
they’re just glued to Fortnite. And I’m like, uh, hello, guys? Can we actually do something or we’re just gonna sit here all night? And we just always end up
sitting there all night. So when we were digging through
research for this story, it was hard to find the universal
definition of addiction that everyone agrees on, but in general addiction is
when someone uses a substance or engages in a behavior
repeatedly and compulsively and continues to do so even if other areas of their life suffer. Whether you can truly be
addicted to video games the same way you can be
addicted to heroin or alcohol is up for debate. Research is kind of all over the place. For decades it was generally believed you could only be addicted
to physical substances. Like if you started smoking cigaretes, over time the nicotine will start to alter your brain chemistry. Smoke one, you’ll get
a quick pleasure boost. Ignore the craving, and you will get physically uncomfortable. That’s when you’re addicted. But then, in 2013, gambling
was officially reclassified from an impulse control problem to an addiction. This was the first time that a behavior was put in the same category
as drugs or alcohol. And guess what? When you look at the brains of some people who have problems with gaming, the reward pathways
activate in the same way as people addicted to drugs. And then there are a
bunch of stories out there about people losing their jobs or failing out of school because the gaming has
gotten out of control. – [Narrator] It’s unthinkable, but his fixation is so complete, Logan has refused to go to
school for the last two years. – To combat this, South Korea, home to maybe the most intense
gaming culture in the world, went so far as to pass a law preventing kids from under the age of 16 from accessing gaming websites
between midnight and six A.M. They just straight up shut it down. But this is where things get tricky. Games are meticulously designed
to challenge or reward you at just the right moments
to keep you playing. Those rewards, like new
weapons or new skins or more in-game currency,
motivate you to keep grinding, keep leveling up, because the next reward
is just around the corner and you’re so close. So when you can’t put your controller down, is it because you are addicted, or because you’re really
motivated to keep playing? Which brings us to the concept
of self-determination theory. One of the most widely accepted theories to explain what motivates people. Basically, there are
three key characteristics of motivation. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. And video games like Fortnite offer up all three in abundance. Autonomy is the desire to be self-directed and have the freedom to choose. Like, when you have your
enemy dead in your sight with your trusty SCAR, but then — bam! Out of nowhere you’re getting
sniped from God knows where, and it’s time to build to stay alive. Or maybe you never got into that situation because you chose to be a camper and don’t mind sitting back and waiting for everybody else to die. Mastery is the desire
to progress and improve. It takes some serious skills
to take on 99 other players and come out on top once, let alone win consistently. I mean, there are professional
Fortnite players out there. This game is their job. Purpose is the desire to be a
part of something bigger. Something meaningful. Fortnite is kind of like its own culture. It goes beyond just playing the game. You can post your best kills
or funniest emotes on YouTube. You can follow and interact with your favorite player on Twitch. You can literally spend hours discussing the game on
Fortnite’s dedicated subreddit. Because video games give
you almost instant feedback, it can be easier to get
your motivational needs met in the gaming world
than in the real world. Researchers who don’t think
video game addition is a thing argue that gamers who have a problem regulating their gameplay might be escaping an
underlying real world problem, like anxiety or depression. But gaming isn’t all bad. There is research that shows that games can be good for the brain especially fast-paced action games. In a series of controlled tests, kids who played first-person shooters showed faster and more accurate attention, quicker visual processing of 3D objects, and demonstrated an
increase in creativity. And in some cases, these benefits could carry
over to other real-world tasks. In another study, pilots and surgeons were able
to outperform their peers after playing action games. The researchers think the gaming increased their ability
to filter out distractions and focus. And researchers are just starting to learn how video games affect social behavior. After all, 70% of gamers
play with other people. Players are actively
engaged with each other. Players play cooperatively. They play competitively. They share tips, tricks. They teach each other how
to get better at the game. So at the end of the day, researchers are divided about video games. Some think there is enough research to say it can be an addiction in some people. Others think we need more research to make sure that video
games aren’t just an escape from a problem someone already has. So what do you think? What motivates you to
keep playing a video game and how do you resist
temptation when you need to or when you have to? Let us know in the comments below. Oh. And if video games and
tech are kinda your thing, then we’ve got two episodes
we think you’d really enjoy. One is all about how facial
recognition being used more and more to track our whereabouts. Yeah, creepy. I know. The other is all about virtual reality and if it can make you a better person. Alright guys. I’m going back to my game. I’ll see you guys in about two weeks.

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51 Responses

  1. Sufan02 says:

    unsubbed becauses of the intro

  2. Richboi says:

    Shows to parents

  3. Lucas says:

    It seems like a bit of a moot point to discuss until you answer question of, "What if it is? Then what?"

    The dictionary definition of addiction is vague enough that literally anything could be classified as an addiction. It doesn't really matter if gaming is or isn't. It's what we do about it that matters.

  4. · 0xFFF1 says:

    I'm surprised you didn't side with the video-games-as-an-addiction camp.

    "Above the Noise" has been quite the opposite before.

  5. Daniel Inoa says:

    Dude, you got the SEGA genesis controler wrong in the backround, the face bottons are at the left and the D-PAD at the right.😅

  6. Hey, Folks! says:

    Is video game addiction real? No, of course not-

    Wait…sorry. I'll get back to you. My phone says I just got a gift in Pokemon GO.

  7. Justin O'Brien says:

    I think there is much more than enough research to show that you can be addicted to a game, or gaming. Certainly Skinner's work, for example, wasn't in vain.

  8. Juani Salorio says:

    I was missing your videos!!!

  9. Riley F says:

    Remember Fortnite isn't the only game out there. If you are trying to study gaming addition I would suggest looking into more niche communities, Fortnite because of it's success brings in a lot of causal game players. I doubt the average Fortnite player is playing for more than an hour a day. That being League of Legends is massively popular like Fortnite but I would say the players are far more dedicated.

  10. weird unusual guy on youtube. says:

    memes are funny. when advertisers use them, its cringy. sorry but, the intro…

    hell. no.

  11. Kevin Luna says:

    Foreplay Night!

  12. Misadventure says:

    Dance was cringy af but rest of the video was 👌

  13. Misadventure says:

    As long as you’re healthy and it isn’t negatively affecting other areas of your life I don’t see why people shouldn’t be allowed to play video games. To most it’s just a hobby, just because some people do that hobby a lot doesn’t make it an addiction.

  14. batmanfanforever08 says:

    I use to be a hard-core gamer, but then I became a casual gamer.

  15. StoneCresent says:

    I think that "free-to-pay" games definitely need to be part of the discussion. Some of their mechanics, such as loot boxes or very grindy game progression, promote long game sessions among those who don't want to pay to progress. Some governments are now looking into if these progression systems constitute gambling. So, if gambling addiction is a thing and there are games that have gambling or gambling like elements (depending on jurisdiction) as a core part of gameplay and progression, it leads credence to the idea that certain games can become an addiction.

  16. Nomo Hakon says:


  17. RenegadeWarden says:

    to be honest I think most addictions start from an underlying issue, and those that dont were formed because someone felt pressured to take an addictive drug, or didn't understand the risks when they first started. And I especially think behavioral addictions only become addictions when those behaviors were used to escape from something else. Otherwise things like gaming and gambling for a healthy person just aren't addictive. cause if they were addictive on their own there'd be no way someone could do it professionally and not get addicted but there are tons of people who do. So we shouldn't really ask if a thing is addictive cause it doesn't matter, if a thing can give you a dopamine rush it might as well be put under a "possibly addictive" category and if someone starts getting addictive to those then someone needs to look for the underlying issue, not just take that addiction away from them cause chances are if the main issue isn't solved they'll either just pick up a new addiction or go back to the old one.

  18. Natela Adlens says:

    I got a ps4 commercial before this video

  19. Der Headbanger says:

    You don't have to mention you're not a gamer. Dude, your controller wasn't even turned on!

  20. America From Scratch says:

    What is everyone's favorite nostalgic video game from childhood?

  21. Mihai Cioban says:

    Awesome episode. Keep up the good work!

  22. Takada Hiro says:

    Some of my friends can't stop playing application games while hanging out with friends and I think they are addicted to games. And those games are made to make those royal players by introducing login points

  23. Fynitie says:

    I came here for answers and instead I left with more questions :^)

  24. Doping1234 says:

    Saying videogame addiction is no addiction because it is a symptom of an underlying probem is an odd argument because the same could be said about classical substance addiction (see rat park study).

  25. Joshua Hillerup says:

    I'm confused here. "Making up for depression or some other underlying condition" is how all addictions work.

  26. RoiAnn Campos says:

    i disagree Lucas i am 16 and i play video game and my friend. but he has a disability that make him need to keep going so he has a time to help stop him. unlike me i don't and i can play until i need to stop or want but i can play, its not a addiction its just need timers, also help understanding the child itself.

  27. RoiAnn Campos says:

    also the boy my just have a disorder or just need help understanding when not to play or when to okay Lucas?

  28. 61i72h says:

    I tend to think of games as Better-Than-Life activities, much like art (reading, theatre) in that we prefer them to regular drudgery, and they can legitimately make us happier by performing them. The main enemies to escapism are jailors, after all – people who want us to exist for 'their' ends, not our own. Declarations of addiction often amount to this – that by finding an avenue to fulfilment outside of commercial spending, social interaction and 'vocational' work, we aren't serving the ends others ascribe to us, we're treating our happiness as an end in itself. And for those who depend on us that can be intolerable.

    Don't get me wrong, I think there are serious limits to BTLs, and that they can get under your skin in an annoyingly compulsive way that a person has to find a way around if they truly want to maximise their happiness. And as the ability to spend one's life playing video games demands a certain amount of hardware, so developing real-world skills in tandem is necessary even if it is treated as a means to a virtual end. My greatest concern is the way we can shame and ridicule people for gaming, and deride gaming itself. If you want people to come out of their video games, it is more effective to make life better than games than convince them that games are worse than life.

  29. Hannah C says:

    How would you research an "increase in creativity"?

  30. RenegadeWarden says:

    I just realized a thing, asking if video games are addictive is equivalent to asking if needles are addictive instead of heroine, cause the addictive thing isn't the video games it's the dopamine it's just that video games might be that persons prefered way of "taking a hit"

  31. Mari S. says:

    How is he playing a game if his controller isn't even on?? 😂

  32. Adam Dawood says:

    Im not addicted im honestly motivated

  33. M'aiq The Liar says:

    Above the noise: I wanna be tracer! Me:TURN ON THE controller! 0:05

  34. Asian Man says:

    It really depends on the type of game or the type of person. A person who struggles with gambling would get get addicted to a predatory loot box system. But it shouldn’t be classified as one like drugs is because most gamers know how to put the controller down when they need to, most people who use certain types of drugs tend to not know how to stop by themselves.

  35. Logan Arriola says:

    whatch video at 0.25 speed

  36. OWEN PRICE says:

    hey guys add me on xbox Xximoney0812xX

  37. Lil Pump says:


  38. TD TKD says:

    You guys are great. You guys changed my POV on gaming. Thank you. I am truly grateful

  39. FlamingCubz says:

    It’s just called we like the game

  40. Heidi Webster says:

    I've suffered lots of pain from social situations and began to actively avoid people. But video games and YouTube have allowed me to make friends.

  41. Landry Dickey says:

    0:05 the controller is off

  42. ImReflex says:


  43. Bear Bones says:

    Its real and its been a bitch to me this past four days. I was fine playing games like red dead 2 or celeste. But then i went back to skyrim, then i waited for the hours of mods to load and the game to stop bugging out on me then i could play on the 2nd day then it fucked my work process up. I regret it so much

  44. Anthony Thonnard says:

    Lmao the guy during the intro didn't have his controller on XD

  45. Annika Griffith says:

    I think everything in moderation, it's easy to get in too deep. That goes for anything. I truly believe that anything can be addictive. One thing that's really bothersome to me is the toxic communities that follow gaming. My boyfriend is a big gamer, he's mature enough to see past the toxic communities, and not contribute to them. However, I have a baby brother who is now 7 y/o and he's found his way into the gaming world. Granted, he is generally only playing MineCraft.. But I know at some point he'll find his way a more broad scope of games. I often worry how these toxic communities will influence his young mind, and the young minds of all the other children beginning to game. Gaming will be a huge part of their world and culture, inevitably, it's what they're growing up with. I think gaming companies should give some type of incentive to not be a complete douche bag, and some type of repercussion if you do.

  46. Regi videos says:

    I’m not addicted 🤣🤣🤣

  47. AppleCheese says:


  48. Betawarier The Meme Emperor says:

    Thanks for defending our video games

  49. Dsimic says:

    It's only addiction if that game is really good to play and you really enjoy playing it. For example you play FPS game kill an enemy and get that reward and dopamine release😄

  50. Braci A Johnson says:

    I think that gaming addiction is a myth and if there was then parents need to prevent their children from dropping out of school for it

  51. Jaliyah Hicks says:

    I feel like this game is bad because they are getting addicted and that is not a good thing for people’s health

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