The recent release of Dying Light 2 has sparked an interesting conversation among the gaming community. After it was revealed that it would take at least 500 hours to complete, gamers had mixed receptions to the news. While some saw it as a world filled with content, others started to become concerned that there was not enough time in today’s rapidly evolving gaming landscape. While many professionals say that people are playing video games longer and longer, the question that many are asking is whether or not this is a good thing for the future of the gaming community.
A Trend of Gaming Addiction Concerns
This news comes after a surge of concern regarding video game addiction within the gaming industry. As gamers must be content with their jobs, lives, and other obligations, the amount of time that can be dedicated to a game is decreasing. However, some games’ addictive properties can often pull away from a player’s self-care. The concern of gaming addiction got enough publicity that gaming addiction is now a recognized mental illness.
With games adding more and more content with larger worlds, gaming is becoming more immersive. These worlds can occasionally be an escape for gamers who want to distance themselves from reality. While this is not inherently bad, it does bring up concerns for many parents and public health officials regarding excessive gaming habits.
Is Gaming Really That Bad?
As the concerns around addiction rise, the health benefits of gaming are often brushed aside. There are many studies that show how video games can increase concentration for those with ADHD, and trauma studies reveal additional psychological benefits to digital visualization of their trigger points.
Further, video games can also be implemented as a learning tool increasing engagement among students by a significant margin. Information can quickly be absorbed by students, and critical thinking skills have been shown to improve with puzzle-based experiences. Despite the fear of addiction, the health benefits should also be considered in most discussions regarding video game activity on a larger scale.
Government intervention to reduce addiction
The Limelight Networks report about the State of Online Gaming 2021, showed that video gamers spent an average of eight hours and 27 minutes each week playing games. The report details how the spikes in gaming over the last year are driven by gamers’ desire for social connections. 53 percent of gamers say they’ve made new friends through online games in the past year and about 36 percent say the ability to interact with other players is extremely important.
The increase in video gameplay has gotten government attention on how to reduce video game addiction. China already limits game time for their citizens, and in Europe, gaming addiction is considered a mental health issue. The concern of game time increasing is evident, but while both of these approaches have merit, they’re not necessarily solving the root of the problem.
Is addiction the problem, or is it the content included?
As games continue to grow, players are either thrilled with the expansive experiences or feel exhausted by the need to complete them. While there is not a happy middle ground, many gamers feel like games are drifting away from their story and further into the idea of “more things to do.” With so many hours being spent in virtual worlds, some gamers are bailing on titles earlier.
However, there is a market for players who want to explore every detail of a game. The Skyrim modding community builds additional content constantly, and many fans have replayed the title 4 or 5 times since its launch. So there is a market for these massive titles, and the expansive worlds do find a place in some players’ lives.
The question is if developers can find a balance between the two. Allowing the expansive content to be optional is many fans’ first suggestion, but this does not solve the core problem.