Japanese TV Show Talks Online Gaming Addiction, Explains First-Person Shooters 

Recently Japan's AbemaTV did a report on "net game addicts", discussing those who are racking up long hours online.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

AbemaTV is an internet television network, which has snagged some famous Japanese celebrities for its shows. The AbemaTV segment was a breath of fresh air compared to the typical way the traditional Japanese media covers gaming, often painting it as bad.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

The segment's start features Shintaro Sakurai, a university student. The show explains that Sakurai now lives with his father, and his mother passed away five years ago.

Sakurai is currently into FPS games, a genre that the show explained for the general Japanese viewing audience.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

Obviously, Japanese people who play a lot of games will know the term well, but a larger audience might need an explanation.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

Maybe even how online FPS games work.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

When energy drinks in an adjacent fridge won't do because he drinks them too much, Sakurai takes caffeine pills to stay up and play.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

On heavy-gaming days, he plays for over 20 hours.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

In the six years he was in high school, he says he spent over $22,000 on online games. This was money he got from his parents.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

He felt as though his life wasn't worth living if he was bad at games.

What's good about AbemaTV's coverage is that the show then interviews pro gamers to put things into context for viewers.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

Gamers such as the head of pro team Detonation Gaming, who points out that games themselves are not bad, and that they're actually a sport.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

Pro gamer Ceros says that since professional players have to take care of themselves, it's only natural that they rest when they're tired.

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

"And there's nobody really playing until, like, they die," he adds.

Well, there have been cases of people playing online games until they have died, but perhaps pros such as Ceros know that they need to put in the time to practise, but also know it's important to take breaks.

After the segment, the TV show's panel discusses what they saw. The panel is filled with people who are into games, but who say they used to be addicted to online games. For example, here's writer Kaoru Oshima's old schedule:

[Image: AbemaTV公式 YouTube]

During the height of Oshima's gaming days, 20 hours were spent gaming. Three-to-four hours were for sleeping, and whatever time was left was for eating and going to the bathroom.

The healthcare professionals who appear on the show talk about how the WHO is going to classify gaming addiction as a disorder. But at this point, as Kotaku previously reported, that classification could be problematic.

Experts Have A New Reason To Debate Whether 'Gaming Disorder' Is Real

Ask veteran gamers whether it's possible to get too hooked on a game and they might have stories of a World of Warcraft raiding buddy who used to pee in a can that lived next to his Alienware tower. Or they might confess they got so into their Zelda. Breath of the Wild playthrough that they forgot to shower. But is that sort of thing a diagnosable disorder?

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One panellist did make a good point when the segment's announcer mentioned the game industry's pushback towards the WHO ruling, comparing it to when there were a lot of young people in car and motorcycle accidents and adding that those industries worked to improve safety.

The whole segment isn't fearmongering, which can be Japanese media's default setting, with the panellists talking about the good points of online gaming, including the social aspects, and how people can enjoy them in a positive way, along with some real talk for those who might be risking physical health.

You can watch the full clip below (Japanese language only).


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