SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – It has been reported that if game addiction is classified as a disease, the decrease in sales in the domestic gaming industry will be in the billions of won.
Whether game addiction should be classified as a disease under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will be discussed at the next World Health Organization assembly in May.
If approved by the General Assembly, it will take effect in 2022.
Since it is the first time that a quantitative analysis on the financial effects of classifying game addiction as a disease has been conducted in the gaming industry, it is expected to serve as a guide for the industry’s response and government policy authorities.
A report called “An Estimation on the Economic Effects of Game Addiction Policy Changes” submitted by a research team led by Professor Lee Deok-joo at Seoul National University to the Korea Creative Content Agency on December 12 predicts that classifying game addiction as a disease would bring damages worth billions of won to the game industry for three years from 2023.
The research team used three methods to estimate the economic effects of the classification of game addiction: a comparative analogy with a similar industry (the U.S. classification of smoking addiction), a comparative analogy of relevant influential factors (South Korea’s Shutdown law) and an analysis of opinions from the gaming industry.
The team first set an estimated model of cigarette sales before and after the classification of smoking addiction in the U.S. Damages in the gaming industry caused by the classification of gaming addiction as a disease were estimated to be losses of 37.9 billion won(US$33.73 million) in 2023, 1.7 trillion won(US$1.51 billion) in 2024, and 3.3 trillion won(US$2.93 billion) in 2025.
A comparative analysis, which reflected a subjective view of the gaming industry by contrasting the so-called ‘shutdown’ law and the classification of game addiction showed that damages would result in losses of 40 billion won in 2023, 70 billion won in 2024, and 1.1 trillion won in 2025.
The level of awareness in the gaming industry is even more serious.
When the research team conducted a survey of 147 companies that make and sell games, the companies expected domestic sales, overseas sales, and the number of gamers to rise by 14.8 percent in 2023, 14.2 percent in 2024, and 11.1 percent in 2025 if game addiction was not classified as a disease.
On the other hand, they expected a decrease of 22.7 percent in 2023, 16.9 percent in 2024 and 15 percent in 2025 if game addiction was classified.
Quantifying the estimates revealed that the companies are expected to lose one trillion 81.9 billion won in domestic sales by 2023, 2.1 trillion 25.9 billion won in 2024 and 3.1 trillion 27.6 billion won in 2025.
They are expected to lose 6042.6 billion won in overseas sales by 2023, 1.2 trillion 76.2 billion won by 2024 and 1.9 trillion 2.6 billion won in 2025.
The number of gamers was expected to increase by 37,673, but under the assumption that game addiction was classified, the number of players halved to 28,949 players.
The gaming industry is most concerned with the “spread of negative perceptions of gaming itself” and the “implementation and reinforcement of government regulations on gaming”.
Many companies were also concerned about “increasing the number of employees to produce quality games.”
The report pointed out that there should be a policy that prevents unfair industrial contraction caused by the regulations, and noted that the industry needs to actively participate in the matter.
Professor Lee explained that since “the game industry is a future business gold mine, there are a number of points of view to consider, including teenage addiction”.
He added, “This report is meaningful in analyzing the economic effects of classification on the industry by reflecting the views of relevant parties.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)