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Aeolienne

Well-Known Member
(Not written by me)

Fortnite creators say Prince Harry was wrong to say video game phenomenon was "created to addict"

By Tom Hoggins

Epic Games, the creator of video game phenomenon Fortnite have suggested that Prince Harry was wrong to label the game as "addictive" and said it "shouldn’t be allowed".

“We were quite taken aback and really rather surprised because the statements that were made, in our view, couldn't be further from the truth from our intentions and design philosophy,” Epic’s senior counsel Canon Pence told the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS). “It's really always been our effort and intent to create a fun, fair, flexible, engaging and generous form of interactive entertainment for our audience.

"So I feel like a statement that suggests that there was some sort of nefarious attempt to extract short-term profit is a real mischaracterisation."

When asked by committee chairman Damian Collins if the firm felt that Prince Harry had "got it wrong", Pence replied: “I do.”

Prince Harry had made the comments about Fortnite, which has over 250m registered players and made $2.4bn in revenue in 2018, during a visit to the YMCA in South Ealing.

"That game shouldn't be allowed,” he said. “Where is the benefit of having it in your household?”

"It's created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It's so irresponsible. It's like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down."

He added that social media was "more addictive than alcohol and drugs".

Epic was giving evidence to the DCMS alongside fellow US game company Electronic Arts about a variety of topics on the gaming industry for the government’s white paper on a duty of care for technology companies. The almost three hour long, often fraught session covered topics such as game addiction, age verification and loot boxes.

Both companies cast doubt over the World Health Organisations’ recent classification of "gaming disorder" relating to the overuse of games, with Pence saying: “We do participate in industry organisations which have taken issue with the manner and process of which that has gone through, there is plenty of debate over whether that process was proper.”

“I think the use of the term addiction unfortunately masks the passion that our players have and the joy they get from playing our games, I think the term is a mischaracterisation.”

Pence said that the upcoming white paper was “an important paper” but there was “more work to be done on it”.

“It’s important for us to protect our players and we think it’s an important start,” he said.

Source: Telegraph
 
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I do think Prince Harry is over-reacting here.
I won't dispute that it's possible for people to become addicted to technology as I've seen it happen, my belief in regards to kids and teens still living in their parent's home is that it's up to the parents to set boundaries if their children are spending too much time playing games/been on social media, to make sure the games/websites they use are age-appropriate and to check what their kids are up to when they go online (the amount of kids I've heard screaming obscenities on online gaming blows my mind and leaves me asking "Where are your parents when you're acting like this?").
If you set boundaries and the kids ignore them, then punish them - even if that means taking their games console off them temporarily. If they keep at it regardless after you've punished them multiple times for it, then sell the console/games and don't buy them another one, while making sure if they go to a friend's house that their friend's parents don't let them sit for ages at a video game screen.
They have to learn one way or another and I do believe that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

For example, if I didn't do what my Dad told me to do because I got engrossed in a game or because me and my brother were fighting while playing, he'd respond by punishing me/us for it; those punishments including him unplugging the console and giving it to one of his friends to keep from me and my brother, as well as threatening to sell it.
We soon got the message and made sure to do what he told us to do first and then play on the game if he gave permission.

At the end of the day, I feel it's about taking responsibility and been the adult. Kids need boundaries and when their parents don't set boundaries and/or just make excuses as to why their children don't need/won't follow the boundaries, it doesn't prove healthy in the short or long term for anyone.
 
I agree with @AGXStarseed, in that it's the parents responsibility to tell their kids when they can play stuff and for how long etc.

Having said that, I think that once a parent/guardian/adult has started to either just let things slide, or not put any/enough boundaries in place it's usually very difficult to go backwards. I'm not saying it's impossible, but difficult enough that many adults would actually take the easier option of letting it continue, rather than fighting with the child to change things. Nobody wants to put up with a child having a massive tantrum, so some will give in to stop it.

My nephew is nearly 11, and he plays Fortnite...like...a lot. He lives with his Mum, and sees his Dad and fiance (my sister in law) on weekends. He doesn't play it when he's with his Dad, because they don't have an Xbox or the game. At his Mum's though, it seems like he pretty much plays it all the time. He's even smashed up his TV, because he punched it when he was losing. I think if she hadn't let him play so much to begin with, it'd be easier to say no now but I guess that's up to her.
 
In truth, he is not 100% wrong, but the thing is, that the whole of the internet is how he describes.

It does start and stop with parents though. Although I am not a parent, I can imagine the scene where you have a dissatisfied child, but you are too occupied to concentrate on the child, how convenient to just plonc them in front of a phone, tablet etc and phew peace at last and starts the addiction.

I could easily get addicted to online games and have some downloaded by bigfish, because of times the internet goes off and get fed up with reading etc, but I stay away, because I know how dangerous it is for me; but children and especially, ones who are on the autism spectrum, cannot regulate their brain that well. I only could, once I realised the issue.
 
Well, expect much of anyone in the gaming industry to refute such claims. No surprise there. I still recall around the turn of the century when I worked at a Silicon Valley computer game publisher/developer when personalities like Tipper Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman tried to exert their political influence to censor video games over their personal morality concerns. With the industry mobilizing against them.

However the issue itself seems hotly contested with both various governments as well as the professional medical community. Rather than take one side or the other, I'd be watching to see how the international medical community may or may not uniformly revise a definition of addiction itself.

In the meantime though, how much weight can a royal who can't formally make policy actually carry? I seem to recall years ago when Prince Charles dissed modern architecture. Whatever. They have a right to their opinions like anyone else. But their word as a royal doesn't translate into policy or law. That's left to Parliament to decide.

News Feature: Is video game addiction really an addiction?
 
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But their word as a royal doesn't translate into policy or law

Very true, but they still have a great deal of influence on a certain subset of society in Britain and abroad. Not enough to sway public opinion but enough to tip the balance if it's already heading in that direction.
Shame. I thought Harry seemed to have his head screwed on well enough not to wade into this sort of debate.
 
Very true, but they still have a great deal of influence on a certain subset of society in Britain and abroad. Not enough to sway public opinion but enough to tip the balance if it's already heading in that direction.
Shame. I thought Harry seemed to have his head screwed on well enough not to wade into this sort of debate.

I suppose you could say the same for just about anyone with a certain degree of notoriety and celebrity status. Tragic to think any of them could truly sway public opinion, though it's no secret that certain celebrities revel in this sort of thing on both sides of the pond.

"Shame" is right though. While I don't see this particular debate as being truly resolved, it does puzzle me as to why Prince Harry would even bother. There are so many more important things he could bring up more suitable with his status. Tragic that his mother isn't here to tell him just that.
 
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I could easily get addicted to online games and have some downloaded by bigfish, because of times the internet goes off and get fed up with reading etc, but I stay away, because I know how dangerous it is for me; but children and especially, ones who are on the autism spectrum, cannot regulate their brain that well. I only could, once I realised the issue.

The same with me. When I was a kid, I had a Gameboy Advance and after a long time of playing it, I realized I was becoming addicted to it - as I was on it most of the day and would continue trying to play it at night under my covers. As such, I deliberately set myself a month's ban from playing on it - something my younger brother thought was silly. Still, I went without it for a month and I found it did benefit me a fair bit. After that, I did still play it but a lot more sparingly than before.
 
On an additional note, what is said here reminds me of one of Bill Burr's performances when he talks about 5 year olds who are classed as being 'obese' and - in my opinion - rightly puts the blame on the parents. When you think about it, what he says here about kids who eat too much can be applied to kids who play too much on video games/use social media too much.

(I've edited this video to cut out the swearing).
Bill Burr Obese at Age 5 (No Swearing)
 
Ironic to think that if there was anything to stifle my enjoyment of computer video games, it was my exposure to having worked for a major gaming company around the turn of the century in Silicon Valley. While I worked in web design only to promote the products online, my job put me uniquely between marketing executives and the game developers.

In essence I saw the real face behind it all. Where ultimately it is just one enormous device designed to separate you from your money and put most of the equity into the hands of expectant shareholders. To the point where even the most raw, buggy product had to be released in the fiscal quarter the company committed to just to placate shareholders.

As for the customers, they got an inferior product with a weak promise of a stream of patch files to slowly fix and allegedly remedy most, but not all of a product's shortcomings. It may not have stifled the average customer's appetite for computer games, but it sure did stifle mine. After that job I pretty much began to lose interest in computer gaming altogether.

If there was ever anything to become potentially addicted over, it wouldn't be this. Today I seldom play computer games, though the ones I remain the most fond of are all nearly two decades old, played on a legacy PC system with Windows XP.
 
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