Responsibile gaming: Skill minus addiction

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Responsibile gaming: Skill minus addiction

Friday, 24 November 2023 | Rameesh Kailasam

Responsibile gaming:  Skill minus addiction

By harnessing the power of technology in a thoughtful and collaborative manner, we can pave the way for a brighter future

In today's digital age, online gaming has emerged both as a beacon of recreation as well as a subject of debate. The allure of virtual worlds and immersive gameplay experiences has captivated millions worldwide, yet a concern of addiction looms. Fortunately, technology itself holds the key to mitigating challenges such as these, offering innovative solutions to regulate and control excessive gaming habits while helping individuals develop notable proficiencies.

Even amidst these concerns, we cannot overlook the valuable skills and positive qualities that online gaming cultivates. Contrary to conventional perceptions, gaming isn't merely about entertainment; it's a realm that fosters an array of skills. Many of the online gaming formats require a combination of physical skills such as dexterity and quick response besides mental skills in the nature of strategic thinking, logic, attention, practise, adroitness and superior knowledge of the game. Collaboration, critical thinking, strategic planning, and adaptability are among the myriad abilities honed through online gaming.

Technology, the very catalyst behind online gaming's rise, also offers solutions to mitigate addiction. Technology can be leveraged further to implement features such as time limits, monetary tracking, and monitoring unusual behaviour which is clearly not a feature in case of addictive sectors such as alcohol or even fast food. Technology in gaming therefore can serve as a guardian that limits excessive indulgence without hampering learning and enjoyment. One of the foremost strategies in responsible gaming involves implementing strict time limits on gameplay by creating a personalised cap on the number of hours an individual spends per day. These limits can be tailored to suit individual needs and responsibilities, allowing for a balanced approach that encourages healthy gaming habits while preventing excessive engagement that leads to addiction.

Furthermore, the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning presents a groundbreaking opportunity in combating addiction. These technologies can analyse individual gaming patterns, offering personalised recommendations and interventions when signs of addictive behaviour surface. This nuanced approach not only addresses addiction but also respects the individuality of gaming experiences, tailoring interventions to suit diverse needs.

Fostering a culture of awareness and education is paramount for the online gaming sector. Technology can play a pivotal role in this regard by providing informative resources and interactive modules within gaming environments. This proactive approach equips gamers with knowledge about the potential risks of addiction while highlighting the importance of moderation and responsible gaming practises.

The effectiveness of these technological interventions lies not just in their implementation but in their seamless integration and user acceptance. It's crucial to design user-friendly interfaces and platforms that promote awareness and encourage users to actively engage with these control mechanisms. Providing educational resources about the importance of mental health and the risks associated with excessive gaming is equally essential in fostering a culture of responsible gaming.

It is not solely a pastime but a realm that stimulates creativity, fosters friendships, and nurtures skills pivotal in an evolving world. At the macro level, one should also not forget the promise that the sector holds in contributing to India’s GDP, generating employment and helping foster innovation and entrepreneurship. The sunrise sector was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, up from $1.1 billion in 2019. Indian gaming companies have already attracted $2.8 billion in investments from global investors over the past five years .

(The writer is a noted governance reform, policy expert and a business strategist, views are personal)

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