Since December 2017, the global games industry has been working together to understand what motivated the World Health Organisation, an eminent global organisation that does important work in protecting and promoting healthy lives for all, to propose including a "gaming disorder" in its latest list of mental health diseases.
There remains significant debate amongst medical and professionals about this issue and no doubt that will continue following this week's WHO action at their annual World Health Assembly gathering, at which they confirmed that a "gaming disorder" will be included in ICD-11.
But we remain concerned they have reached their conclusion without the robust consensus of the academic and scientific community, the consequences of which may be far reaching and unintended at this stage.
As an industry, we always encourage and actively support healthy game play by providing information and tools, such as smart and simple parental controls, that empower billions of people around the world to manage their play, ensuring it remains enjoyable and enriching. We also believe that, as with all good things in life, moderation is key and that finding the right balance is an essential part of safe and sensible play.
We all have mental health, just as we have physical health. Many people across the world have serious mental health issues for which they need more support. Games can be one way to help people tackle anxiety, depression, and a range of issues. Equally, mental health support in society should be well funded and accessible to those who need it, when they need it.
This week in the UK, the Duke of Cambridge sparked a national conversation about men and mental health with his documentary Royal Team Talk. And this week we also heard that the NHS has lost 6,000 mental health nurses over the last decade.
We are committed to continuing to work collaboratively to promote the overwhelmingly positive benefits of playing in a balanced way, which can include reducing stress, improving problem solving skills, building friendships, aiding in scientific research, building team work, telling difficult stories in new ways, and offering enjoyment.
And we know that the next generation of creators are using games to express the difficulties they and everyone can sometimes face in life, as evidenced by the incredible games ideas from 10 to 18 year olds as part of the BAFTA Young Game Designer competition, the finalists of which were announced this week.
As an industry, we will continue to make sure that players, parents, educators and carers are aware of and know where to find the clear guidance on responsible play through the promotion of educational resources such as askaboutgames.com.
Any organisation that wants to help us ensure that parents, carers, young people, adults alike are empowered and equipped with the information and tools they need, to link to and promote askaboutgames.com.