4 Corners Is Investigating People Who ‘Play Video Games Too Much’

4 Corners Is Investigating People Who ‘Play Video Games Too Much’

The ABC’s 4 Corners program has announced it is launching an investigation into Australia’s relationship with video games, and is turning to the public for information about how time spent gaming this year “has impacted people”.

A form appeared on the ABC website over the weekend, titled “Do you play video games too much or know someone who does? Four Corners wants to hear from you”, with a series of questions about video games and video game usage.

The direction of the questions is fairly negative lens, with a explainer paragraph outlining the main thrust of it all:

The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association says gaming can be a fun, educational activity that helps people connect with their friends and families.

This can range from free-to-play mobile games to traditional console games.

But there is a dark side to gaming, with the World Health Organisation officially recognising video game addiction as a mental health disorder in 2019, with some people finding their use of games significantly impacting their personal and social lives, education and work.

The questions also don’t seem to acknowledge any benefits or social elements of gaming, instead only focusing on whether users spend too much time playing video games, whether gaming is inhibitive towards other activities, and whether it has “created issues in your relationships with friends and or family”. Outside of a couple of free-form questions, the only question that indicates some sort of positive benefit from gaming is a question about how gaming affects ones’ moods.

Here’s a snapshot of the questions:

4 corners video games
Image: ABC

Understandably, the publication of the survey was met with a fairly strong reaction. A common complaint amongst detractors was a refusal to acknowledge the social connection and good provided by video games. Shadow Assistant Communications Minister and Shadow Assistant Cyber Security Minister Tim Watts, who recommended Animal Crossing to parents dealing with lockdown earlier this year, highlighted how the 4 Corners survey refused to acknowledge gaming’s positive effects on mental health.

The chief executive of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association said they “arranged some people” for 4 Corners to interview “hopefully to ensure a balanced view“. But it’s no surprise that there’s already a bit of concern — especially since this is the kind of tone that mainstream networks, like Channel 7 and Channel 9 in the past, have taken with video games.

One of the reporters on 4 Corners offered a more even take on Twitter — “We know there are many positive stories” — and if anyone has their own personal stories or experiences with video games, you can submit those to the ABC here.

There are a couple of questions in the form that offer a really good opportunity to highlight personal experiences and moments you’ve had with gaming. 4 Corners has a strong reputation for fairness, so provided people are respectful and reasonable in their submissions, you should feel fairly confident that your stories will be heard.

I’d still like to see a lot more balance in the questions and fixed answers — the implication of in saying “yes” to a question that reads “Has your gaming affected your financial situation, spending or employment” is always going to have a negative undercurrent. It’s not likely to immediately trigger the positive possibilities, like its potential to lead to jobs for the entire esports industry, or the country’s thousands of video game developers or adjacent industries.

But this is an opportunity to put forward your experiences. We’ve reported before on how the World Health Organisation’s official classification of gaming disorder can be the impetus necessary to help some people, and there would undoubtedly be some Australians in a similar situation. So keep that in mind if you do choose to make a submission to 4 Corners, and for the love of all that is good in the world, don’t go after individual journalists or start lobbying invectives at the 4 Corners social media accounts. That doesn’t help anyone.


  • OK, I honestly already smell an agenda building here from Four Corners and some of the questions they ask there are not exactly making me less concerned.

    I have a mate who is a big rider, rides into work and on the weekends and it keeps him fit and healthy (he had a health scare years ago).

    Some of those questions are a YES for him in riding, e.g. spend too much time/money on biking equipment, his wife complains he rides too long on Sundays, etc. Now he’s not alone (he tells me) in that ALL the guys and girls he rides with have partners telling them to ride less.. So.. should we be looking into riding addiction too?

    Don’t get me wrong, gaming addiction is real and needs to be discussed, just concerned it’ll be looked at in black and white terms by people with little understanding as I have seen before..

  • As someone who is trained and involved in the creation and refinement of questionnaires in a professional capacity, yeah that thing’s pretty awful. Every question feeds and supports a very negative underlying assumption. They have ‘a take’ and they need some filler data to add some weight to it.

    • I tried to give ABC the benefit of the doubt and check the questionnaire first… yeah its terrible. A huge chunk of the questionnaire has a negative spin and the only “positive” section is a text box.

      J mean lets be real no matter how many positive stories u put in the text box a chunk of the info will be that survey section which goes vidya games bad mmkay.

    • They read just like “addiction” questions right out of patient admission questionnaire. Replace gaming with alcohol or drugs… and you see its not a survey, its a fishing expedition for “victimns”.

      This is so tabloid a current affair buckshot, I am expecting “tv experts” with dodgy career history pop up promoting their “weekend workshops”

  • I would like to give ABC the benefit of the doubt here especially since once upon a time they used to produce Good Game but frankly its a but rich saying oh we know there are positive aspects and giving you a generic text box to fill meanwhile 80% of your questionnaire which will obviously be used for analytics has a very negative spin…

    Frankly its the 2020s 40 years since the dnd and gaming panic, 30 years since MK and Night Trap a full 50 years since the bloody Comicbooks Code (which literally held back comics as a medium in the west for decades)… society hasnt crumbled the same way it survived tv, movies, radio and *gasp* printed media. We who grew on gaming are frankly sick of this constang need to legitimise the medium

  • Without commenting on anything else yet, I’m surprised that Sekiro brought that fellow BACK from the brink of chronic anxiety. That game has been so bad for my mental health that I’ve self-imposed a time limit on fighting bosses so I don’t get down on myself for wasting hours of my life failing.

    Having said that, I am of course glad that it works for him.

  • As found in Scientific American, 1859:
    [A] pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages. Why should we regret this? it may be asked. We answer, chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while at the same time it affords no benefit whatever to the body.

    Echoes of modern arguments against gaming…

    It is a game which no man who depends on his trade, business or profession can afford to waste time in practicing; it is an amusement–and a very unprofitable one–which the independently wealthy alone can afford time to lose in its pursuit. As there can be no great proficiency in this intricate game without long-continued practice, which demands a great deal of time, no young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it without danger to his best interests.

    Shall we see a reformed ‘former addict’ going cold turkey and warning others, to close out the 4 Corners episode as well?

    A young gentleman of our acquaintance, who had become a somewhat skillful player, recently pushed the chess-board from him at the end of a game, declaring, “I have wasted too much time upon it already; I cannnot afford to do this any longer; this is my last game.” We recommend his resolutio to all those who have been foolishly led away by the present chess-excitement as skill in this game is neither a useful nor graceful accomplishment.

  • I would like to think 4 Corners would be more balanced than ACA. I’ll wait until seeing what they actually produce before making up my mind.

    I’d rather see a story about Australia’s neglect of the gaming industry and how we’re missing out on a massive piece of the pie in terms of developing here in Australia. The amount of money the Govt throws at TV / Film vs Gaming is ludicrous.

  • I don’t see the point in getting defensive about this. The show is doing a story on spending too much time playing games, not the social or health benefits of playing games. Maybe someone could do (or has done) a story on the beneficial side of gaming, but not everything has to be balanced. As long as they aren’t telling lies about stuff, they are entitled to create what they want.

    • Up vote / reply – This is my take too.

      Not everything has to discuss both sides – reminder that 99+% of scientists agree climate change is being accelerated / caused by people, but media companies trying to be balanced and showing ‘both sides’ end up making it look like a 50/50 debate which it absolutely isn’t. It can sometimes be irresponsible or harmful to ‘show both sides’ and the bias the ABC might have going into this piece should be viewed in light of the topic of addiction, not in light of what games can offer in general.

      • A solid piece on gaming addiction would be a good thing, and I’m not necessarily going to dump on Four Corners just for coming in from that angle. But the form there is… not good.

        “Has your gaming affected your financial situation, spending or employment?”

        The way that question is phrased, everyone here should answer ‘yes’. Because, naturally, it has affected all of our spending. If we didn’t game, we wouldn’t buy consoles, games, PCs, shiny new graphics cards. Oh, but now you’ve answered ‘yes’ to a question that also covers impact on your financial situation and your employment.

        At best, that’s absolutely atrocious question framing. At worst, that’s been done deliberately to generate the kind of answers they’re looking for. And whether it was malicious or not, it’s going to have that effect, since not everyone will reason their way past a poorly framed question.

        The rest of the questions lean negative as well. And they pose this as a general survey; they’re not just asking for the input of people struggling with addiction issues. The page at the ABC says…

        “If you’re a gamer, or the partner or parent of a gamer, we’d like to hear your story and how gaming has affected your relationships, physical health and mental health.”

        Not “If you’re a gamer facing addiction issues”. Just if you’re a gamer. And that’s not the only slightly worrying thing over there…

        “If you work in the video game industry, we’d also like to hear from you. We want to know more about how the video game industry fits into all of this and what strategies are used to encourage people to game more.”

        … which feels a little bit like throwing blame at the industry even before anyone steps forwards to answer a question.

        I think that a piece discussing gaming addiction, even isolated from a broader discussion around gaming, could be a good thing that could help people. But I don’t think that’s the outcome that is going to come from this article.

    • I think this is really less “more balance views needed” and more “oh here we go another hit piece but we’ll pretend its not all bad to appease the audience we are targetting” I dunno.. consider me rather jaded over thesd current affair/60 secods type shows these days..

      I think frankly a lot of us are sick of the resurgence of whats really a done and dead topic. Gaming addiction is a known problem since wow and mmo days. Yes it exists and Yes its bad. Its not really saying anything new and just cashing in on the negative stereotypes and the fact ppl have turned to gaming coz of covid as thst has been the only source of entertainment since CoVID hit..

  • I’m text book agoraphobic. I’m betting my utilisation of video games to help with my disability and connection to isn’t something they’d touch on?

  • LMAO
    I just read the questions, and they are totally skewed towards the negative.

    6. How many people have video games caused you to murder?
    a) 0-5
    b) 6-10
    c) all of the above

    • Come on. Under 5 murders isn’t *that* bad. Dunno what the problem is. I often finish a session of Hitman before planning my next high profile target. Really gets you in the mood.

      Next up. Donald Trump

  • The ABC is slowly losing its way after years of unfair criticism, underfunding and new management directives.
    Their still not as bad as the rest of Australian media but they’re being pushed that way.

  • Wow, the reactions here are weird.

    If the piece is indeed about people who are playing games too much isn’t it implicit that there is also a healthy amount of playtime too? Did everyone here see Shaun Micalleff’s series on alcohol and alcoholism and think ‘wow, I better defend alcohol in general because most people I know have never had a problem with drinking too much’? Do people see a report on white nationalism on the rise and think they should also talk about the ‘good’ whites to be ‘balanced’?

    It’s entirely possible, and even important, to acknowledge the problems some people absolutely do have with gaming in a wholly negative piece without it being unfair, unbalanced or the sort of moral panic piece some people are assuming it will be. It could still go in that direction of course, but if you’re making a piece focused on the people that have real problems with addiction, you don’t need, nor should anyone feel the need for, the positive aspects of videogame to be presented along side the negative ones in that same report.

    It feels pretty childish to whine about the evil MSM trying to destroy my hobby again. Personally I’d be hoping that there might be a push towards regulations on the gambling mechanics companies are deliberately putting into games to milk vulnerable people of their money as a result of the piece, it’s not like they’ll point to tiles like Necrobarista or The Red Strings Club to illustrate the worst the industry has to offer, but hey – maybe I’m crazy for thinking you can critically discuss aspects of a medium I like without it being an attack on the medium as a whole.

    • Thats the thing though we already know this. Gaming addiction (or heck any addiction or over consumption of anything) is bad. Its been done and discussed ever since the WoW days. This isnt adding anythng new and the question set is skewed towards promoting the negative.

      I think what we are really after here is neutrality not “balance”. The issue is the questionnaire itself is leading to a wanted conclusion instead of actually getting numbers for a conclusion. Its the equivalent to asking a supporter of a political party if they are dissatisfied with the opposing party’s performance. Its a practically forgone conclusion they will almost always answer in the negative. Thats not exactly good sample sizing.

      And we of course may be jumping to conclusions here but a fair amount of people are really just tired of the moral outrage type articles that hammer the same problems over and over not because its to start a discussion for the better but just as fuel for moral outrage. But hey if 4 corners makes an actual good segment on this more than happy to eat my words

    • Weird? No, not at all.
      Do you see news pieces about “Are your children suffering from book addiction?”
      “Music listening addicts ruining their financial livelihood.”
      “Jogger spends entire wealth on shoes.”
      You might claim that these comparisons are ridiculous, but they’re as equally valid as the ones you’ve made.

      The framing of these questions is deliberately tilted towards trying to come up with a negative outcome, against a past-time that people here enjoy, and is demonised on a regular basis, being blamed for anti-social behavior, violent tendencies, lack of attention span, and even the motivation for murder. The framing of the questions makes it appear that it will be exactly the kind of hit piece that all these comments are worried it will be.
      The problem is that these questions don’t appear to want to critically discuss aspects of a medium, but merely want to frame it as a dangerous addiction that causes serious harm to someone’s well-being.

      What’s childish is dismissing other people entirely valid complaints at a blatantly biased selection of questions as “whining” while attempting to claim the moral high ground.

      • Well you’re making the moral panic argument, and actually – yes, both books and music had similar pieces made about them in the past. Those pieces were ultimately proven pretty silly over time – I’m sure book addiction is a thing for someone somewhere, but it’s obviously an issue so incredibly small as to be negligible. That sort of thing might be what 4corners ends up doing, and if that’s the case I’m right there with you complaining about it.

        *BUT* ‘Gamers’ are so sensitive to how the media reacts to their hobby that I do think it’s childish. Every single time people act aggrieved or even personally hurt that their hobby isn’t made out to be what they see it as. For one 4corners os not ACA or 60 minutes, it’s actual journalism that is sometimes flawed as opposed to ‘gotchas’ posing as journalism. I think 4corners have earned the benefit of the doubt here, but even if they hadn’t – who cares? Does it affect your hobby? Your interests or passions? Does it make you look like a basement dwelling gremlin living off doritos and mountain dew?

        The absolute worst thing about liking games for me has always, and I do mean always, been the way ‘gamers’ try to gatekeep their communities and interests. A big report on games rotting children’s minds? Maybe a little irritating, but not a big deal. Yet another report of widespread death threats and targeted hate over something as utterly stupid as a review score or a delay to a release? *That* is what stops me from admitting I like games to people I don’t know. The passionate lovers of films might be labeled as pretentious, the passionate fans of music might be labeled fanatical, but the passionate fans of games are labelled as arseholes – and collectively as a community we kind of deserve it.

        We’ve actively excluded women and people of colour, tried to explain to disabled or otherwise abled people why accessibility options that might allow them to play a game would ‘ruin’ it for everyone. We’ve kicked up a tantrum over the smallest of things and then acted shocked when – huh – people have negative associations with games and the people that play them.

        We, collectively, have done far more to ruin the image of games in the eyes of the public than the media ever did. Does anyone you know still talk about the Mass Effect Sex Scandal (partially clothed kissing, how risque!)? No, I don’t think they do. These reports, even when totally negative, never stick in the public eye. And I think we all know that (see your books and music examples).

        So I stick by what I said. Whining. Childish. These are the labels we don’t want, so why do we keep putting them on ourselves?

        • “The absolute worst thing about liking games for me has always, and I do mean always, been the way ‘gamers’ try to gatekeep their communities and interests.”

          Do you not even see the irony here? The comments here are complaints that other people are demonising gaming – thus performing this “gatekeeping” by decrying it without a balanced viewpoint. The people pointing out the flagrant bias of these questions are doing the exact opposite of gaming.

          “These reports, even when totally negative, never stick in the public eye.”
          Except they do. The word “gamer” is associated with an anti-social loner, typically adolescent male, and quite often violent. And it’s associated with the exact “gatekeeping” mentality that you raised. Do you not realise that you are repeating the EXACT stereotypes that are propagated about “gamers”, all while saying those stereotypes don’t stick in the minds of people. You’re exhibit A that they DO.

          I stick by what I said. Your complaints are every bit as whining and childish as you are accusing others of being. Moreover, you’re not even self-aware of how you’ve been influenced by media.

          • Jesus Christ you’re giving me a headache. At this point I give up, you win, we can’t ever say anything bad about games because that’s how the MSM will destroy our precious hobby. It’s not possible to be nuanced, it’s inconceivable that you might actually try to read the argument as it was written instead of combing through it for dumb gotchas, and it’s equally impossible to try to understand the arguments as a different perspective from your own that isn’t necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Why try to argue points when you can instead just argue?

            ‘Gamers’ brought the image upon themselves. We are a toxic community, and god forbid anyone tries to change that or discuss the problems our hobby has had for as long as it’s been around. We don’t have to drag the ball and chain of the associations our hobby brings in its wake, we can change the problems that give rise to those associations, but it seems people are desperate to anyone and everyone but themselves.

            The funny thing about repeating stereotypes is you need to understand why I’m repeating them. No shit that’s not most gamers, obviously the vast majority are normal people who just want to relax with a game, but the reason the image sticks isn’t because of shitty reports like the one you’ve pre-emptively decided the 4corners one will be – no-one takes that shit seriously anymore, it’s because there are loud, toxic and stupid voices in our communities that kick up a massive fuss everytime anything they don’t like happens, and then escalate that fuss to death threats, rape threats or just plain vile garbage that isn’t associated with other communities (because it doesn’t happen in them as often or to the extent it does in gaming communities, and because gaming communities far too often seem oddly proud of their toxic behaviour).

            Finally regarding your ‘how influenced by media I am’ comment – Jesus. Jesus Christ that makes me angry. I’m not even going to argue with it or explain why it makes me so angry – debate clearly isn’t possible and trying is like bashing my head against a brick wall. My head hurts, and you’re really bloody dense.
            Good night.

    • You know what? Thank you for your comment.
      I was quick to feel defensive about the issue, but you raise a pretty good point, and ultimately I think you’re right.

      I guess the underlying concern is, that for folks who don’t know anything about any aspect of video gaming culture will watch this episode of 4 Corners, and for that to be the lens they see all gaming culture to be after that.

  • Well…

    Gaming addiction is a problem. It keeps you up into the night, it causes lots of health issues not moving around.

    It directly effects people success with outcomes at school and work being greatly effected by your sleep pattern interference (late for work/school, taking extra days off can all lead to being fired or failing grades.).

    It stops people looking for work too, and because it shoots endorphin constantly at you, you will loose yourself there.

    How gaming websites can go on the defensive about this show me just how dumb they are. Not understanding the negatives of the very industry you work in show s a complete lack of maturity.

    • When have you seen a positive article about games in mainstream national media?
      We’ve already had a dozen reports from pointing out the problems such as addiction to just shitting on games in general.
      That’s why people re annoying. It’s the constant “gaming bad” BS being smacked over people’s heads

    • You’ve demonstrated a complete lack of maturity with this comment by demonising gaming. There have actually been studies demonstrating how gaming SPEEDS UP cognitive ability in some areas.

      But all you care about it attacking it like a chronic drug or alcohol addiction that is ruining people’s lives, when the vast and overwhelming majority of people play games without any negative consequences, and in fact get many benefits from it.

      People in the gaming industry and who enjoy gaming ABSOLUTELY understand some of the problems and dangers associated with the industry, but are able to discuss it in a balanced manner rather than the overwrought hyperbole that you’ve brought here – which is exactly the kind of tripe that people are expecting from this piece based on the biased nature of the questionnaire. You’re one step away from blaming video games for mass shootings, and quite frankly, it’s about time such garbage stopped getting airtime.

      • Hell of a slippery slope there.

        Look, I know plenty of people that play games, and all but one are totally healthy about it and have no problems at all. But that one kid (my cousin) dropped out of school in his final year of HS, shifted his whole sleep pattern so he wakes up at four and goes to sleep after the sun’s up and straight up refuses to talk to his parents, get a job or go outside. Those problems aren’t just about gaming of course, but currently he has an extremely unhealthy relationship with games. Now talking about that kid and his issues isn’t demonising gaming – it’s acknowledging his problems with it.

        Trying to confront those issues isn’t the same as blaming games for them. I don’t drink – but pieces about alcoholics aren’t so much about the drink as much as how to help them off it, and even as someone that personally despises the stuff I don’t see any of these pieces as particularly negative towards the actual substance. The industry around it? Sure. The culture around it? Absolutely. The actual stuff itself – maybe not so much.

        Most people are fine with alcohol and most people are fine with games – but the stories of the people who aren’t should be told too.

        • That’s got nothing to do with games. That’s a problem with him. Games are just his way of coping. Obviously he needs some outside help

          • Excuse me? He’s my cousin. Not yours. What kind of bloody armchair expert are you to think you know the reasons behind his issues from a deliberately vague paragraph.

            Don’t presume to tell me what his problems are or what has made them worse (spoilers – videogames made existing issues much worse). Jesus Christ dude. Where the hell do you get off telling me what the real problem is with someone I know and you don’t.

        • 1. The plural of anecdote isn’t anecdata.
          2. No, it’s not a slippery slope because those EXACT arguments have been made countless times in media since video games first showed violence and blood. It’s not a slippery slope when the exact claims I’m reference have ALREADY BEEN MADE.

          The concept of issues relating to gaming and gaming addiction being discussed in a fair manner is entirely reasonable. But the questions being asked don’t represent that.

          Also, where do you get off on telling other people what their problems are, while getting complete irate when someone dares do the same for your cousin? Some self reflection would go a long way.

          • A slippery slope argument has nothing to do with with what claims have or haven’t been made before – you’re saying blightor’s comment is one step away from blaming games for killing sprees.

            So what you’re implying is people that make the argument games can be detrimental to your health might in any way be close to saying they make you want to kill people. That’s a classic slippery slope.

            Yeah, some media outlets have made those arguments, and obviously they should be mocked for doing so, but you are implying a slippery slope that leads from acknowledging the health problems some can develop with unhealthy gaming habits to those media reports, and not only is that a slippery slope, it’s also a false equivalence. A random punter’s comments =/= A media report and it’s weird to even put them in the same sentence like that.

            Also what does your anecdata comment even mean? I’m not claiming the one person I know to be statistically significant – infact I was actually implying the opposite with the point that regardless of the amount of people seriously affected, I think their stories and experiences still should be explored.

        • I don’t think you understand what a slippery slope is. Context DOES matter, and the pattern of demonisation of the exact type that has already occurred on numerous occasions is relevant, and is relevant criticism of a position.

          More importantly, you’ve never ONCE engaged with the key point of how biased the questions are, and how they are quite clearly written with a specific agenda in mind.

          You’ve prevaricated about other subjects, attacked other people, but never once engaged with the absolutely legitimate criticism of the information gathering mechanism they chose to publish for this piece.

          It’s almost like… you’re not interested in having a debate in good faith… the exact thing being complained about that you are deliberately choosing to ignore.

          • “More importantly, you’ve never ONCE engaged with the key point of how biased the questions are, and how they are quite clearly written with a specific agenda in mind.”

            OK – here. It is obviously biased. So what? Bias is not actually a bad or a good thing, it’s something inherent to any and all media. I am biased. You are biased. Kotaku is biased. This 4corners piece *will* be biased.
            So What?

            The specific bias here is that they’re making a piece about videogame addiction. That’s a bad thing. I hope we can agree there. The responses they’re looking for are, funnily enough, negative, with the assumption that the people answering them will read ‘gamer’ as ‘problem gamer’ – because that’s what the show is about and most people will understand that despite the poor wording of some questions. This isn’t Insight where people are asked for their stories and experiences, this is 4corners – a show that generally aims to unveil aspects of the stories they discuss to expose some misdeed or underserved people. They *will* try to construct a negative narrative from this data because – yeah, that’s obvious. Constructing doesn’t mean inventiong though – I know little about jounalistic law, but I do know that if you make false or significantly misleading statements you can land in very hot water very quickly. Biased, of course, but the report will not be untrue.

            The thing is these questions will come from people that already have a narrative planned out, already have interviews lined up and people they will quote or take quotes from. Everyone is acting like it’s a hit piece that’s being built from this questionaire, when in reality, whatever the piece ends up being it’s largely already decided.

            Valid complaints can, and should, be made should it turn out to be a piece that blames games for the problems some people have with them, but we know nothing and making assumptions about a show very few people on this site seem to actually watch is just silly. Personally I expect at least partially they’ll be going at it from a gambling mechanics in games direction – something the industry is responsible for and which would explain the financial bent to some of the questions, but speculating on exactly what they’re angling at doesn’t strike me as useful, which was why I didn’t feel any need to address the questions.

            “It’s almost like… you’re not interested in having a debate in good faith… the exact thing being complained about that you are deliberately choosing to ignore.”

            You’ve caught me in a terrible mood. With mild insomnia, a headache and my usual cocktail of anxiety and depression I’m in a far worse mood than any I’ve been in for quite a while, and I’ll own the fact I’ve said some nasty things to you that I wouldn’t say in person. I am actually sorry for that, I don’t like to be drawn into arguments like these. But are you really claiming you were arguing in good faith? It certainly didn’t felt like it to me.

        • All good man, I think we should be able to have a vigorous debate on topics. Having our positions challenged is how we analyse ourselves and our positions and then work out where we’re possibly wrong. And I’ll apologise for pressing you pretty hard on this subject when you’ve got an extended family connection with the greater negative aspects of gaming addiction.

          All that said, yes, I do feel I’ve been debating in good faith, albeit with the mildly untoward behavior of reiterating any personal criticism issued by people directly back at them. I don’t believe in debating in bad faith – generally if I do it’s at the point someone has proven themselves utterly intransigent and I’m done letting them spout their opinion as fact.

          Yes, bias exists in media. Pieces and people on Kotaku are going to be “pro-gaming industry” more than many other places. But journalists should attempt to eliminate deliberate bias in their pieces if they’re actually trying to do real journalism – just examine the political sphere to see how bias can utterly distort truth for political gain. The issue is that the questionnaire provided is so heavily distorted towards portraying gaming as negative, when questions could have easily been rewritten to have a more “neutral” stance. The last two questions are examples of those that are particularly problematic.
          If someone answers yes: it’s confirmation that the person has a problem with gaming addiction that they’ve tried / are trying to solve.
          If someone answers no: it’s confirmation that the person has a gaming addiction problem and they’re refusing to solve it.

          Writing balanced questionnaires is a difficult task. People can create bias in their questions without realising it. Heck, maybe that’s what happened here. You know what, you’ve given me pause for thought that maybe we’re in a Hanlon’s Razor situation here: it wasn’t malice that resulted in these questions being bad, but stupidity – i.e. the lack of knowledge about how to write them properly.

          I think the reactions here are a symptom of how people who identify as part of the “gaming community” (for as large/disparate/dysfunctional a gestalt as it is) are pretty much sick of games being continually demonised by the media. Again, there’s still very much a dismissive and negative assessment of people who play games as a regular hobby. “Oh, yes, I play animal crossing, but I’m not a gamer.” “Yes, I play call of duty, not those nerd games.” “Oh, I’m not a gamer, I play .” The stereotypical “gamer” is still frequently thought of as that South Park caricature rather than a normal person who has gaming as a hobby. I don’t think it’s unfair that people who care about the gaming industry are fed up with gaming being portrayed almost exclusively in a negative light outside of the media specifically designed for its community. Even this year there were instances in multiple countries where mass shootings were again blamed as being influenced/caused by video games. When was the last time you saw books, tv or movies being attacked in the same way?

          I’d love to see a balanced piece on gaming from 4 corners, who yes, have previously done some excellent work. There is definitely scope to highlight some of the negative trends in gaming and the potential for gaming addiction, while also highlighting the positives of the medium. The issue is that historically for mainstream media (and I use that term without the negative connotation it frequently gets nowadays, but merely as a means of its describing its broader reach), it’s only the former that gets any kind of significant airtime.

  • The “Too Much” survey is already bias from question 1, and then asking you if it caused “Issues”. That means they already decided thats the angle, their fishing for “addicts” to parade to the public. Replace the word gaming with “alcohol” or “drugs” and you see they are trying to find addicts.

    There is a polar opposite question to the survey they are not asking…

    Has gaming improved your life?
    Has gaming helped your mental health or helped you managed stress, is a form or relaxation?
    Has gaming given you financial success?
    Has gaming connected you with your friends and family?

    The worse part is there TV psychiatrist expert is probably going to be the same one ACA uses, who got fired from newspapers for making shit up.

  • So ‘4 Corners Is Investigating People Who ‘Play Video Games Too Much’

    ….so why wouldn’t they ask questions angled towards people playing too much or spending too much?

    The sensitivity on show here reminds me of “All lives matters!!” ….um…. no one ever said they didn’t, the focus just needs to be on black lives for obvious reasons.

    “Save the rainforests” doesn’t mean no other ecosystems matter, and

    “Let’s be concerned about gamers who are struggling.” does not mean there are no positives.

    Dichotic thinking, excluded middle, with us or against us : gamer reactions like this are rather immature and if anything provide fuel to those playing up the negatives.

    • You’re not exactly wrong. And if they had put out a survey asking for input specifically from people who have problems with too much gaming, that would be fine. But the survey they put up, one with questions that are loaded in the direction of assuming problems with gaming, asked for any gamer to respond.

      Now, that might just be an oversight on the part of the person who created the survey – cock up rather than conspiracy – but it is enough to ring alarm bells. And it’s that, combined with a history of the media not responding well to gaming as a medium, that makes people a little gun-shy.

      Crucially? A good documentary covering issues with addiction in gaming would be a very good thing. The most important thing a documentary like that can do is hold up a mirror to people who might recognise the issues they’re facing in the documentary. But if the documentary appears to be biased or judgemental, that will turn people off, pushing them away rather than engaging them. That doesn’t help anybody.

      This being an important issue makes it all the more important that the documentary be well put together, and while we’re judging before we’ve seen the finished product, what we’ve seen so far is enough to make people suspicious.

    • Seriously man, look at the questions.
      “Have you ever tried to cut down the amount of time you spend gaming?”
      This question is as valid as “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

      Reacting negatively to a questionnaire with questions like this isn’t immature, it’s demanding that the subject actually be discussed with rigor and facts rather than a specific negative agenda in mind.

      I’d gladly welcome a good discussion of the positives and negative that video gaming provides, but a survey with questions like that is NEVER going to provide that kind of discussion.

  • All I’m seeing is some valid general concerns from people on here on how all gamers will be personified as a whole if indeed it does turn out to be a hit piece. I’m sure most if not all will acknowledge that there is indeed an issue with addiction to games and wouldn’t be against a thoroughly researched piece that used peer reviewed data from multiple sources in conjunction with real life stories and a deeper look into why this might be happening. We all know that some games are certainly geared towards fostering this, wether it’s a purpose built insurmountable grind or casino style “loot” systems and I hope that is something we do get as it is an important conversation to have. Beyond this though I personally think this should be weighed against the broader digital landscape (tv, phone, social media etc) and addictions that can form to these as well, but that is just an opinion.

  • Oof that is not a good questionnaire.
    “Has your gaming affected your physical health?” Well yes, VR gaming has made it better for me, but there’s no way to answer that question that specifies gaming has affected it positively rather than negatively.
    Likewise with “Has your gaming affected your financial situation, spending or employment?” Just gives you a basic Yes/No option instead of allowing you to specify if that’s been negative or positive either (for example, people who have been able to make a career out of streaming/esports)

  • “the implication of in saying “yes” to a question that reads “Has your gaming affected your financial situation, spending or employment” is always going to have a negative undercurrent”

    And I’d guess 99% of gamers have spent money on gaming so would have to answer yes, such a terrible, leading, unscientific question.

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