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World Health Assembly ICD-11 and Gaming Disorder

May 28, 2019, 08:56:44 PM by kat
[image courtesy ICD11]

As of May 2019 the World Health Assembly (the political arm of the World Health Organisation) recently confirmed[1] "Gaming Disorder" (and companion disorder "Hazardous Gaming") is to be formally included as an diagnosable disease/disorder in the International Classification of Diseases directory, IDC11. Like other entries in the ICD, the text now defining gaming disorders will form the basis around which health organisations can develop diagnostic frameworks, the tools needed to track outbreaks globally.

With that said, whilst there are genuine concerns over games and the potential for promulgating addictive behaviours, and the exceptionally rare cases of deaths occurring due to extended periods of gaming[2], the data in this regard, on games and gaming being a demonstrable mechanism of addiction, that playing games cause addiction[3] rather their simply taking advantage of certain constituent elements of responses that might lead to addictive behaviours, is actually quite sparse.

This reality, and distinction, is important but rarely discussed or acknowledged, so much so it seems of little consequence because it doesn't make headlines nor support political and activist narratives that games are harmful for a variety of [reasons] in [current year] and should be regulated[4] for the betterment of society.

6C51 Gaming disorder
Parent: Disorders due to addictive behaviours

Description: Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by:

 - impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);

 - increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and

 - continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.
And accompanying; 
QE22 Hazardous Gaming
Parent: Problems associated with health behaviours

Description: Hazardous gaming refers to a pattern of gaming, either online or offline that appreciably increases the risk of harmful physical or mental health consequences to the individual or to others around this individual. The increased risk may be from the frequency of gaming, from the amount of time spent on these activities, from the neglect of other activities and priorities, from risky behaviours associated with gaming or its context, from the adverse consequences of gaming, or from the combination of these. The pattern of gaming is often persists in spite of awareness of increased risk of harm to the individual or to others.

[1] version eleven of the International Classification of Diseases directory was launched June 2018 and did provisionally include gaming 'addiction' disorder and 'hazardous' gaming disorder. At the 72nd general meeting of the World Health Assembly (cf. A72/29) ICD11's adoption was voted for, it coming into effect for clinical and statistical use in 2022.

[2] in the absence of a global database covering 'gaming deaths' - age, location, etc. - headlines indicate a majority of those who do die as a consequence of gaming disproportionately reside in Asia Pacific countries, Korea and Japan most notably, and that deaths that have occurred typically involve prolonged or excessive use and/or sessions of greater intensity than might otherwise have been considered normal.

[3] as a principle 'addiction' is a fundamental mechanic of game design that at its core is simply a consequence of a stimuli/reward dynamic, typically manifest though item farming, collection and other repetitive activities. Exactly how this relationship is causal to addiction is not clearly explained in research literature absent the presence of other external (not game related) influences, flappybird (2014) for example was pulled by its creator over (faux) concerns raised by media and activists it might cause addiction, a headline grabbing assertion that was never demonstrated or evidenced.

[4] being blunt, the pathologising of games and gaming as an addiction serves a singular purpose, money. A cursory glace at the coverage of this topic over the years seems to indicate at least 90+% of the discussion being initiated by media outlets seeking stories, headlines (from both gaming and non-gaming outlets), and the institutions that potentially stand to gain from the classification and categorisation and treatment of gaming as a disorder, the psychological and mental health institutes and associations, who become authoritative sources that reinforce the media 'harms' narrative (to the detriment of those in opposition to the classification if not the overall narrative of harm), which in turn acts as justification for the concerns raised, little more than circular citation. It's less about (open, honest or frank) discussion than it is framing, laying out the data points that can be discussed, omitting those that cannot.

Online Harms White Paper - indirect internet regulation & censorship

May 07, 2019, 03:45:23 PM by kat
The "Online Harms White Paper" [PDF] lays out the case by the UK Government for the legislative enforcement of a "Duty To Care" on all online service providers where users interact and/or receive service from or access to, a provider, the latter then having a 'duty to care' for users safety and well-being.

What is considered 'harmful'?
The list of 'harms' (cf. table 1 pg.34.) is not exhaustive (cf. 2.1/2.2) and is meant to compliment considerations covered under other legislation/law (cf. 2.3/2.4). The overall intent is to centralise or collate the regulation of certain types of activities or behaviours under one framework, making them an 'offense' subject to prosecution and/or fines.

In relation to the summary below, this means many aspects of current law may be subject to legislative oversight with respect to the 'harm' they may cause the individual and/or to the security of the UK (cf. 2.5) as outline/laid out in the white paper.
• This White Paper sets out government action to tackle online content or activity that harms individual users, particularly children, or threatens our way of life in the UK, either by undermining national security, or by reducing trust and undermining our shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities to foster integration. It sets out an initial list of content and behaviour which will be in scope, as well as a list of harms which will be excluded.

Who does this affect?
Anyone providing a 'service' that grants (public?) access to user-generated content and/or allows users to interact with one another, i.e. an online gaming or content creation community like KatsBits, is affected by the proposed legislation.
4 .1 [...]We propose that the regulatory framework should apply to companies that allow users to share or discover user-generated content, or interact with each other online.

4.3 A wide variety of organisations provide these services to users. This will mean that companies of all sizes will be in scope of the regulatory framework. The scope will include companies from a range of sectors, including social media companies, public discussion forums, retailers that allow users to review products online, along with non-profit organisations, file sharing sites and cloud hosting providers.
(emphasis added)

Article 11 » 15, Article 13 » 17, EU Copyright Apr 2019 (provisional)

May 06, 2019, 06:02:00 PM by kat
Provisionally adopted text of the European Parliaments "Copyright in the Digital Single Market" for Apr 2019. 150 pages, mostly preamble that sets the Directive's context, the environment within which is functions. Pertinent text/clauses pg. 87 onwards.

Important changes:
Article 11 is now Article 15 ("Protection of press publications concerning online uses", pg.117),
Article 13 is now Article 17 ("Use of protected content by online content-sharing service providers", pg.121)

Additional Reading
- European Commission on the Copyright Directive, Article 11 & Article 13
- Article 13, YouTube (BigTech) & #SaveYourInternet astroturfing
- Article 11 of the EU Copyright Directive (link tax)
- Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive
- EU Commission & Restricting YouTube for the Public Good
- "Net Neutrality" has been hoodwinked, yet again!
- Two tier Internet - Net Neutrality has been hoodwinked

Game Streaming Services: How will it affect eSports? [sponsored]

May 05, 2019, 04:52:47 PM by kat
SponsoredeSports and game streaming have gone hand-in-hand for many years. Who are the big players and how are they affected by change? Find out here!

As a gaming genre, eSports has exploded in the last decade. Whether people are fighting it out in the Battle Royale of Fortnite or taking on another team in Overwatch, there are hundreds of games out there where you can make your mark as a player. Improve your skills enough and you could even find yourself with a lucrative eSports career.

What about the rest of us? We can play the games for ourselves but many also like to turn to streaming services to see how the pros play. Let’s take a look at some of the top streaming platforms and how they are affecting the world of eSports.

Steam TV
This platform is worth mentioning simply because of its developer, Valve. They are behind the software distribution platform Steam and some of the most popular games of all time like Half-Life and Portal. More importantly, however, they are the developers of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; two of the most popular games in esports today. While other streaming services currently have right to their games, we can predict that Valve may take them back soon and open themselves up as one of the big competitors in the streaming world.

YouTube Gaming
YouTube has a long history of being good to gamers, from people who dabble in multiple genres to those who prefer to stick to one game like Minecraft or The Sims. It also has a dedicated platform for streaming live content, allowing you to watch people play all your favourite titles with the UI being easy for anyone to navigate.

Most crucially, you can rewind the stream whenever you want to and replay your favourite parts. This is key for attracting viewers who like this aspect of control. It also allows anyone tuning in late to the stream to rewind it to catch up what they have missed. YouTube Gaming is the current unofficial home of many streams for games such as Clash Royale and FACEIT’s eSports Championship series. With the amount of support they can give both the streamers and the viewers, we can only expect great things to continue to come from them.

Twitch was launched back in 2011 to be a streaming platform for video games and it has only gone from strength to strength. You can now find Twitch channels dedicated to all types of games from MMOs, slot games at online casinos to table-top RPGs as demonstrated by the massively popular D&D show, Critical Role.

The platform is currently in the middle of a two-year deal to broadcast the Overwatch League and they also have rights to the NBA 2K League. The tournament organiser DreamHack, masterminds behind four different eSports festivals plus games, also has a long-running partnership with Twitch which is unlikely to end anytime soon. We can only expect Twitch to remain as King of the streaming platforms for a long time to come.

eSports and streaming go hand in hand. The industries are keeping up with each other very successfully and it will be interesting to see how this progresses in the future. While Twitch is likely to remain at the forefront for a very long time to come, it will be interesting to see which of its competitors can rise to the second place spot in the future.

Hidden Easter Eggs in Video Games You Had Not Noticed [sponsored]

May 05, 2019, 04:43:59 PM by kat
SponsoredEver found an easter egg in a video game? Here are 4 from popular game series which we are certain you will have missed!

Video games create some of the best worlds we have ever seen and players will happily spend hours there to ensure that they can see everything there is to see. To reward those players who spend more time searching than others, developers love to put in hidden details called easter eggs. These could be links to other games or aspects of pop culture, or simply could be fun and ridiculous. Let’s take a look at some of the best easter eggs we have seen.

Saints Row 2
Many people love this sandbox of a city and Volition already filled it with references to other games in their library. However, if you head to three different islands in the outer reaches of the map, a monstrous pink bunny will rise from the sea. It is utterly ridiculous and completely fits within the world of Saints Row 2.

The kit selection screen is one which many FIFA players are likely to ignore. All they want to do is select a kit and progress on to the match. However, if you have picked two teams which have a real-life rivalry, the players modelling the kits will turn to each other and glare and growl instead of being good models.

These rivalries make for great matches in the real world as well as a virtual one and the outcomes can be very difficult to call. If you are interested in following these rivalries, check out NetBet sports betting for some of the best odds in upcoming derby matches.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
When driving about the game map, you have probably encountered the bridge between San Fierro and Las Venturas. Find a way to fly to the very top and you will find a small sign which reads “There are no Easter Eggs up here. Go Away.”

Someone at Rockstar clearly has a sense of humour and knows the lengths players will go to when easter egg hunting.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda has made some of the best easter eggs in video games ever. In both the Elder Scrolls and Fallout universes, you will encounter the same characters in different games, references to previous events, and even simple snatches of dialogue reminiscent of something you might have already encountered. However, we are going to round out this article by discussing the easter egg which is Erik the Slayer.

Visit the village of Rorikstead and you are likely to see the NPC named Erik farming in the fields. When you talk to him, he will express a desire to go out adventuring and you will gain a quest to go convince his father to let him do so.

Erik is based around a real-life fan of the series also named Erik, who went by the name of Immok the Slayer on Bethesda’s forums. He died of cancer in 2011 and was immortalised in the game so he could become a companion of the Dragonborn and travel Tamriel forever.

If you ever needed proof that developers cared about their fans, this is the perfect example.
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