Pandemic Lockdowns Fueled Massive Rise in Gaming and Addiction, Experts Say

(by Jackson Elliott The Epoch Times via Zero Hedge) – During the pandemic, nationwide stay-at-home orders handed gaming companies a golden opportunity.

Under restrictive nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns, for many people, gaming was one of the few active recreations, social activities, and creative outlets available.

From 2020 to 2021, revenue for gaming companies skyrocketed.

Video game maker Activision Blizzard saw revenues on the first-person shooter game Call of Duty rise by 72 percent, the massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORG) World of Warcraft by 7 percent, and apps by its King subsidiary rise by 22 percent.

Chinese gaming company Tencent saw its total revenue rise by 25 percent in the same time frame. It owns first-person shooters Fortnite and Rainbow Six Siege, online battle game League of Legends, multiplayer base builder app Clash of Clans, battle royale game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, and more games.

In dollar terms, Activision Blizzard’s revenue rose to $2.275 billion from $1.79 billion, and Tencent’s revenue rose to $20.6 billion from $15.252 billion.

Activision Blizzard and Tencent didn’t respond to requests for comment.

By contrast, the movie industry that traditionally competes with video games has tanked.

AMC Entertainment Holdings had revenue of $941.5 million in 2020’s first quarter and $692 million in revenue in 2021’s first quarter. Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. saw its revenue drop by about $140 million in the same period.

But this massive profit from games isn’t just a case of free-market business as usual, some experts say.

Gaming companies often use manipulative methods similar to gambling, and the number of people addicted to video games has risen as well.

Nationwide gaming addiction support group Online Gamers Anonymous has seen its number of monthly visitors more than quadruple. Gaming addiction recovery centers in Austin, Texas, and Chicago have also seen the number of people seeking addiction help rise dramatically.

Much of gaming’s revenue comes from things that gamers hate the most, features experts say are intentionally designed to mimic gambling, take advantage of human impatience, and capture the money of gamers in traps engineered from cutting-edge psychology.

“It’s like selling your soul to the dark side,” addiction expert Dr. Nicholas Kardaras said of psychologists who work for gaming companies. “You’re going to use your talents to help addict people.” Read Full Article >

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