CNN, when are you gonna stop being so silly?

A recently published article on CNN takes a weird spin on pro-gaming, turning something which could have been a wonderful, poetic story into a fear-mongering article about gaming addiction.

MKP – image from teamliquid.net

The article is loosely based around pro Starcraft II player MarineKing (also known as MKP) and the ‘gaming addiction’ he faced, which almost tore his family apart. Somehow, the author tries to tie together professional gaming and gaming addiction, painting it in the light of a terrible, awful addiction that can lead to death.

CNN don’t seem to care that ‘gaming addiction’ is a concept which is highly contested, and not a recognized psychological disorder. In fact, many studies claim that it is more of a behavioural disorder, and can be linked to underlying problems like depression.

I’m glossing over the errors which CNN have (like the description of SC characters or matches… that’s not the point of the article, but the comments show it surely pissed off many gamers anyway) and focusing on the beef of the article – the way in which they try to make it as if gaming is a horrible, addictive, evil thing which needs to be regulated. It’s almost as if they were paid to advertise “gaming addiction” rehabilitation centers. This image is most clearly evidenced in one of the final sentences “MVP, the player whose parents had sent him to a video game training camp when he was young, and who always supported his habit, beat Kas in the semi-finals […]“.

MKP winning MLG Winter 2012 – image from TeamLiquid

So it’s a habit, not a hobby, passion, or dream. The six-figure earnings are presented as nothing but a side note! This is more than any 19 year old could ever hope for. This is more than many graduates will make during their first years of employment. Why are these figures ignored?!

The conclusion that pros seem to find a “magical” balance doesn’t draw from any of the information in the article. The author has tried to paint MKP in a way that he is addicted:
“He quietly unpacked his keyboard at another station and, like a swimmer cooling down in a lap pool — or an addict looking for one more fix — started playing the game all over again.”
Yes, because any pro-gamer would not bother to calculate his chances of getting through the bracket, no matter how slim. So if they lose, they should simply give up and go home. Not iron out their mistakes in case they are able to get through. This is common sense which is lost on the author.

This piece could have been a beautiful story about how MKPs parents changed their mind about his gaming, and went from being frightened about addiction to realizing that he had a lot of talent and could compete on a world stage.

Anyway, CNN could you please stop writing bullshit like this about gaming? Obviously you’re trying to scare parents, which will lead to them being more strict on their kids gaming, which will make kids want to play even more. Of course, this is all good for the gaming industry, because this will overall lead to more sales. But these scare-tactics could also lead to shitty legislation on gaming that may adversely effect pro-gaming and tournaments. So please try to write more well-balanced articles and hire someone who actually knows what is going on.

TAGS: ,

20 Comments

  1. ralph says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBvGvRiFaVc
    CNN has learned nothing in 12 years.

  2. AngriestCat says:

    Hi Liefje! Big fan!

    Did u play starcraft? Broodwar or the new one? I mean casually, did u liked it if so? Do you follow sc2 pro scene? Do you know Stephano? Haha just asking, i know you been pro fps gamer, just curious if rts is ok with you 🙂 peace!

    • Liefje says:

      Hi angriestcat! Sorry about the delayed reply, I guess I need to pay more attention to my site 🙂

      I played Broodwar a LONG LONG time ago, but actually I spent more time watching other people play than playing myself 🙂 I don’t know who is Stephano, what is his nickname?

      RTS is more than okay with me, I just know that I’m not quite tactical enough to be good in those games 🙂 Take care!

  3. AngriestCat says:

    Stephano is bigest nonkorean pro player at starcraft 2. He plays with his name. Loved your answer! I know that u dont check the site often, but plz dont give up on it! Your big fan!

  4. Were those diagnosed with gaming addiction tested for other addictions? Were they susceptible to addictions, or did gaming cause them to be addictive?

  5. The causes are really not clear about internet or gaming addictions because, in part, it is a such a new technology. But I think that we’re going to find that it essentially holds the same dynamics that cause many other addictions. The key issue is the social environment such as the availability of the monitor, the screen, the access to the internet, or the little handheld games that you can buy and win. You have conflicts and you feel good at the end of a particular evolution in the little game, and this is what causes gaming addiction. Again, the causes of the gaming addictions are that similar to alcohol they’re immediate, and predictable. If I’m bored and I reach for a computer addiction or a little game I know I can change my feeling quickly, efficiently, effectively and predictably, right away. I don’t have to wait to go and play basketball. I can change the way I feel and my mood state, immediately, through a machine.

  6. AT the height of Manila’s flooding, a supposedly funny picture that went around the social channels was that of two boys still playing on their computers even as they were soaked waist high in the Internet cafĂ©. That won’t really be funny if they’re sick from a new phenomenon called “gaming addiction.” There’s nothing funny when gaming addiction leads to death.

    • Liefje says:

      Gaming addiction leads to death? because people were making a funny picture in a shitty time? You realize that if it was flooded, the computers wouldn’t be working, right? Come on, use your common sense.

  7. Yong Park says:

    expressed concern that much of the debate on the issue of addiction may be a knee jerk response stimulated by poor understanding of games and game players. Such issues may lead both society and scholars to exaggerate the prevalence and nature of problematic gaming, and overfocus on games specifically while ignoring underlying mental health issues.

  8. These days there are also competitions dedicated to aspects of online gaming, such as the Cyberathletes Professional League and the World Cyber Games. In places like Korea, such events can draw hundreds of thousands of people and thousands of dollars in cash prizes.

  9. Were those diagnosed with gaming addiction tested for other addictions? Were they susceptible to addictions, or did gaming cause them to be addictive?

  10. Brandon T. Scot says:

    Other countries, including China, have tried to treat gaming addiction. South Korea, however, is regarded as the world’s leader in combating addiction. It’s unclear how well the treatment programs are working, if at all, but the government reports a drop in the number of young addicts over the past few years.

  11. gold says:

    The causes are really not clear about internet or gaming addictions because, in part, it is a such a new technology. But I think that we’re going to find that it essentially holds the same dynamics that cause many other addictions. The key issue is the social environment such as the availability of the monitor, the screen, the access to the internet, or the little handheld games that you can buy and win. You have conflicts and you feel good at the end of a particular evolution in the little game, and this is what causes gaming addiction. Again, the causes of the gaming addictions are that similar to alcohol they’re immediate, and predictable. If I’m bored and I reach for a computer addiction or a little game I know I can change my feeling quickly, efficiently, effectively and predictably, right away. I don’t have to wait to go and play basketball. I can change the way I feel and my mood state, immediately, through a machine.

  12. Coy Santos says:

    Other countries, including China, have tried to treat gaming addiction. South Korea, however, is regarded as the world’s leader in combating addiction. It’s unclear how well the treatment programs are working, if at all, but the government reports a drop in the number of young addicts over the past few years.

  13. By calling it “online gaming addiction”, the media encourages us to think that we’re dealing with a very new problem…If people can develop behavioral dependencies on any activity, then why are we surprised that some people develop dependencies on online games? Why is it news? I contend it is mostly because we’ve always used the word “addiction” to mark out deviant social activities in a way that treats them as unique predators, as emergent problems which we’ve never seen before. But once we shift our framework to one of general behavioral dependencies, then we have to abandon this view. What we’re seeing is actually a very old problem.

  14. By calling it “online gaming addiction”, the media encourages us to think that we’re dealing with a very new problem…If people can develop behavioral dependencies on any activity, then why are we surprised that some people develop dependencies on online games? Why is it news? I contend it is mostly because we’ve always used the word “addiction” to mark out deviant social activities in a way that treats them as unique predators, as emergent problems which we’ve never seen before. But once we shift our framework to one of general behavioral dependencies, then we have to abandon this view. What we’re seeing is actually a very old problem.

  15. In the sixth generation of video game consoles, Sega exited the hardware market, Nintendo fell behind, Sony solidified its lead in the industry, and Microsoft developed a gaming console.

  16. They looked at 11 people who had an internet video game addiction to the original StarCraft, playing it more than four hours per day, as well as eight people who were not addicted, and played for less than one hour per day, less than 3 days per week. The addicts showed different brain patterns when playing the game than the other participants.

Leave a Comment



5 − two =