In brief: In a statement issued by Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, the company's stance on gaming addiction has been brought to light. Recently declared as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization, Yoshida discussed the need to take this issue seriously as well as countermeasures that Sony has already in place to prevent gamers from becoming addicted.
The World Health Organization's recent decision to declare gaming addiction as a mental health order raised quite a few eyebrows. Prompting responses from both sides of the fence, Sony's CEO also commented on this development promising to take gaming addiction seriously.
"We need to take it seriously and adopt countermeasures," he said in an interview. "We’ve already implemented a ratings system (to restrict players by age) and have been taking measures based on our own standards."
Depending upon the depiction of violence and sexual themes, the company also provides guidance for game software based on suitable age. It also features a wide suite of parental controls on the PlayStation that can be used to limit a child's access to content and for how long can they play in a single day.
Although these measures are effective for children, adults, who form a big chunk of the gaming community, can't be expected to be controlled by these features. What lengths will Sony go to prevent an adult from becoming an 'addict' remain to be seen.
While countermeasures that need to be adopted were not detailed by Yoshida, the company would need to tread carefully in this territory for two reasons. The first is that gamers and mental health experts generally disagree with WHO's classification of gaming addiction as a mental health disorder because on the contrary, some studies have linked this hobby with improved mental health resulting in a sharper memory, reduction in anxiety and better cognitive functioning.
The second reason is that if Sony treats gaming addiction a bit too firmly, it might come up with an intrusive or policing gaming experience that's likely to offend the PlayStation community and a huge player base that's eagerly awaiting the company's next-gen console.
Going forwards, it will be interesting to see what features are implemented by Sony and how successfully it can prevent gaming addiction among it's PlayStation fanbase.
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