BBC prepares to investigate the addictive properties of videogames

Panorama, a BBC investigative television show, is preparing to turn its lens towards videogames and the gamers who are hopelessly addicted to them. Titled ‘Addicted to Games?,’ the next episode will feature “youngsters who’ve dropped out of school and university to play games for anything up to 21 hours a day.” Reporter Raphael Rowe will also be meeting with “leading experts calling for more independent research into this controversial subject,” and just might score himself the scoop of the century when he “reveals the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more.” We wonder if it has anything to do with them being fun?

Above: Investigating the "addictive psychological devices in games" (aka graphics and sound)

We’d hate to judge ‘Addicted to Games?’ before we’ve seen it, but the episode’s official description reeks of the selective viewing and fear mongering we’re now accustomed to anytime the games industry finds itself in the spotlight of the mainstream media. It’ll be interesting to see if Panorama reporters will investigate the addictive properties of games based on popular BBC shows, like Top Gear and Doctor Who for the iPhone. Oh wait, we guess they’ll only be looking at good games.

‘Addicted to Games?’ is scheduled to air on Monday, December 6 on BBC One. It’s an especially fitting date for the show to air, just one day before the worldwide release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.


Dec 1, 2010

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  • GameManiac - December 3, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    I know for a fact that I'm NOT addicted to videogames. Videogames always come second to schoolwork because videogames are more of a past-time and hobby to me. I don't stare into the TV (or handheld) screen for every hour of my day, although I'd play them more during the weekends and holidays. Every school day, I play for 1-4 hours, depending on the homework, and I always bring my DSi with me.
  • mutantsquid - December 3, 2010 9 a.m.

    Oh look, it's more middle-aged old media reporters ranting about things they haven't even researched. I really just want to send out a mass hate-mail to all of them telling them to shut the frak up about things they rail on without having any knowledge of just to get money from companies hocking their product every 5 minutes. /rant
  • D0CCON - December 2, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    Some day soon, all the old codgers pushing this crap will die and we will win. It's sad thinking that is how you get rid of this stuff, but at least it's surefire.
  • SumthingStupid - December 2, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    I think everyone is addicted to having fun
  • stylo92 - December 2, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    I wouldn't knock this really. My mate is deffinetly addicted, i like games but my mate talks about them and nothing else, plays on them as soon as he gets off school till stupid early hours. Pretty rediculous. Can't imagine how tedious it is to have "got another killsteak last night" everyday.
  • EdDeRs1 - December 2, 2010 7:18 p.m.

    well the date is just a coinceidence as Panorama always airs on mondays and i honestly expect a balenced argument from all sides as the BBC are known to do (until they suck up to Camron so he dosent slash there budget too badly) unlike the REAL fearmungers such as Sky, the Sun, the Daily Mail (seeing a patten) and to a slightly lesser extent, ITV and Five
  • Balaska - December 2, 2010 6:39 p.m.

    Anyone outside the UK, if you can access BBC iPlayer you should be able to watch it, I know I will, for the lols.
  • oryandymackie - December 2, 2010 5:55 p.m.

    'Addicted to Shoddy TV?' Pandemoniumara investigates the BBC, and why millions of punters pay the BBC's license fee every year.
  • atomicsandman - December 2, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    So do they actually think that this will stop people buying/playing games, or more importantly cause anyone to give a fuck? Honestly this kind of outdated bullshit is a dime a dozen (and will probably be slotted between 2 wii/ds ads)
  • CAPST3R - December 2, 2010 3:31 p.m.

    I would watch it, but by lack of tolerance for the incompetent and downright stupid has me riled up; I'm in the danger zone for a breakdown here.
  • gilgamesh310 - December 2, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    Yeah Ive seen this program advertised. It would be interesting to see what kind of opinions present themselves on it. I am just bracing myself for a group of highly ignorant people to be expressing their views like that hypocritical whore Julie Peasgood. Lets just hope there is going to be people who know what they are talking about on it. I hope Geoff Keilly makes an appearance. He probably won't though
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - December 2, 2010 1:47 p.m.

    I'll watch it but these kind of programs tend to get my all riled up
  • Vulneratus - December 2, 2010 12:27 p.m.

    Hmm, one thing to remember in all this is that this show will probably cause much larger ripples in the media than we're all used to (due to the dubious perception of impartiality associated with Panorama, well generally anyway). @ Desired_Effect: I totally agree, the Horizon team would be a much more balanced and less sensationalist investigation. Personally, I do believe more comprehensive studies need to be done on the subject, but I sincerely doubt this will be one of them. Good thing we have Charlie Brooker;
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - December 2, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    HA HA HA The BBC sounds just like my mom.
  • Desired_Effect - December 2, 2010 12:02 p.m.

    Of course computer games are addictive. We're all more likely putting off eating and going for a piss while gaming than say while reading a book. Panorama are likly to go for the 'shock' side of things. I only wish this was investigated by the likes of BBC's 'Horizon' team, much more based on science rather than whats more shocking. Plus Jeremy Vine is a self righteous ballbag
  • JohnnyMaverik - December 2, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    @ Felixthecat I'd tap that.
  • Felixthecat - December 2, 2010 8:17 a.m.

    The only good thing about Panorama is Jeremy Vine.
  • Larinah - December 2, 2010 7:34 a.m.

    Despite popular thoughts, you CAN get withdrawal symptoms from quitting WoW. I played the game from release and quit last july, and for about a month afterwards, I had a raging headache and my anxiety which was normally under control began to really go crazy. Obviously I dislike WoW now but I was severely depressed when I had to quit. I don't doubt other video games can cause that same reaction if a person is addicted enough to them. Call it a lack of self-control if you wish, but to me, it's a literal mental addiction. You can't live without at least a couple hours to satisfy the urge, and it really never goes away. That's why I'm interested to see this, via youtube or w/e way I can, to see what they find out if the study is truly objective.
  • AngryScotsman - December 2, 2010 7:29 a.m.

    I believe that this may be relevant: And people, let's not scream "BIAS" right now. We need to stop reacting with such hostility to any of these studies from first glance. How do you think that looks to people? Wait for the full picture, then make a judgement. I agree, it doesn't look good from the description alone, but it may be fair and balanced, and not in a Fox News kind of way.
  • Scoob - December 2, 2010 6:41 a.m.

    Operant conditioning. Look it up. It's not about addiction, it's about behaviour modification and the tools many developers use to keep you playing their games. I guarantee you that if things like experience levels, gamerscore, leaderboards, or other such counters weren't in many games, you would no longer feel compelled to play a majority of the games out there. Once you understand the basic psychology of what makes games compelling, you can really take a step back and realize what you found fun about them.

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