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.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 […]“.
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.