The recent paper by Aarseth et al. (2016) questioned whether problematic gaming should be considered a new disorder particularly because “Gaming Disorder” (GD) has been identified as a disorder to be included in the next (11th) revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
Aarseth and colleagues acknowledge that there is much literature (including papers by some of the authors themselves) that some individuals experience serious problems with video gaming. How can such an activity be seriously problematic yet not disordered? Similar to other addictions, gaming addiction is relatively rare and is in essence a syndrome (i.e., a condition or disorder characterized by a set of associated symptoms that tend to occur under specific circumstances). Consequently, not everyone will exhibit exactly the same set of symptoms and consequences, and this partly explains why those working in the problematic gaming field often disagree on symptomatology.
Research into gaming is not about pathologizing healthy entertainment, but about pathologizing excessive and problematic behaviors that cause significant psychological distress and impairment in an individual’s life. These are two related, but (ultimately) very distinct phenomena. While being aware that gaming is a pastime activity which is enjoyed non-problematically by many millions of individuals worldwide, it is concluded that problematic gaming exists and that it is an example of disordered gaming.