For many people video games are a hobby, for others, they are an addiction.
This year a 20-year-old British man died of a blood clot after taking part in a video game marathon.
Chris Staniforth played on his Xbox for up to 12 hours at a time and is just one victim in the culture of game addiction that is growing across Europe.
Broadway Lodge is a rehabilitation clinic in the UK which treats video game addiction.
Brian Dudley, Chief Executive at the Broadway Lodge Rehab Clinic, explains the symptoms of the addiction: “It’s very similar to the other types of addictions in that there’s social exclusion and there’s a breakdown within the families.
“There are some heath issues, they don’t tend to eat properly. They don’t tend to look after themselves from a personal hygiene issue, and they become isolated as well.”
Broadway Lodge treats around 400 addicts a year for issues including, drink, drugs and gambling. Although only a small percentage of gamers become addicts, it is important for people who may be developing problems to get help.
Andy Payne, Chairman of the UK Association for Interactive Entertainment, gives advice on how to avoid addiction: “Maybe every 45 to 60 minutes take five minutes out. Move away from the screen, walk around, do something else. But don’t just sit there, hour upon hour, because in any sort of hobby or any walk of life – in your job – doing that is not good.”
The recent wave of addiction has been blamed on sophisticated online games where players have to invest significant amounts of time to progress. As a result, the gamers have less interaction and increased isolation.