PUBG Cafe Opening in China this August

A Twitter user from China has shared a photo of a banner announcing a PUBG cafe and bar opening up in August. The photo banner was spotted at the Huaqiang Road station exit of the metro in Shenzen, China. According to the text on the banner, a café & bar is in the works that will sell food, beverages, and merchandise. It also says “restaurant based on Tencent IP arriving in August.” Below the text, the logos for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile and their developer Quantum Studios can be seen. On the far right side of the image there’s a QR code, unfortunately, it’s incomplete so it can’t be scanned.

Where exactly this café will be in Shenzen isn’t clear, though it is safe to assume it will be somewhere near that metro stop. It also isn’t known exactly when in August the café will open. But, if you’re a PUBG fan and headed to Shenzen in August it might be worth keeping an eye out for.

PUBG has been enjoying massive success in China since its release. It’s also partly owned by Tencent, who are responsible for releasing the game in China and are also themselves a Chinese company.

This is some much needed good news for PUBG who is currently lagging far behind its competitor Fortnite. Fortnite mobile is making 5 times the amount of money that PUBG mobile is. This is being done with half the number of players and from only one mobile platform. Fortnite is available only on iOS while PUBG is on both iOS and Android.

 

Our Thoughts

These sorts of cafes that encourage you to come and play in them while offering you shelter and food and water are fantastic. The fact that they’ve not really caught on yet in the West is a shame. Hopefully one day we’ll see something similar on our shores.

 

Source: MMOCulture

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WHO Closer to Classifying Gaming Addiction as a Mental Health Condition

In spite of the arguments of physicians, the World Health Organization has included gaming disorder as a mental health condition in its 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD for short, which has prompted a strong response to say the least.

gaming disorder

According to Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, gaming disorder has three major diagnostic characteristics: putting gaming behavior ahead of other activities; an inability to stop gaming behavior even if negative consequences are felt; and a degradation or impairment of personal, social or occupational function.

“[The WHO is following] the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field,” says Dr. Poznyak. “I’m not creating a precedent.”

Of course, there are those within both the gaming industry and medical field who disagree with the inclusion of gaming habits as a mental condition. Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director of a non-profit mental health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, called the addition of gaming disorder “premature” and that gaming is often used as a tool to reduce anxiety and depression. “When anxiety and depression is dealt with, the gaming goes down significantly,” said Bean.

The Entertainment Software Association has issued a statement in reaction to the ICD, pointing out that the new edition is still in a draft state and that the WHO should consider more inclusive and deeper study before finalizing the diagnosis.

“The research supporting inclusion is highly contested and inconclusive. There is no objective evidence to define and diagnose overuse and that may result in misdiagnosis,” reads part of the statement. “The WHO should consider the mounting evidence put before them before inclusion next year of ‘gaming disorder’ in the final version of ICD-11.”

Our Thoughts

Yes, there are undoubtedly aspects of video gaming that are addictive. It’s literally the crux of argument against loot boxes. With that said, and as often seems to be the case with many mental health matters, there’s a lot more nuance than whatever blanket diagnosis the ICD-11 is proposing and the risk of misdiagnosis is pretty significant, not to mention the alarmist pieces that suddenly gain new vindication.

Sources: CNN, Gamespot

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Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light’s Ren Osugi Passes Away

We are sad to report that actor Ren Osugi, the eponymous Dad of Light from the Final Fantasy XIV-centered television drama series, has passed away. The veteran actor was reported deceased early this morning as a result of acute heart failure. He was 66.

ren osugi

Born Takashi Osugi in Tokushima prefecture, the actor was a well-known name in Japanese TV, theater and film, often working alongside comedian, actor and director Beat Takeshi. Osugi starred in numerous productions, including 2017’s yakuza film Outrage Coda, the 1998 crime drama Hana-bi, and the action film Dead or Alive. Osugi won a Best Supporting Actor award at the 1999 Yokohama Film Festival for his work.

In the Dad of Light miniseries, Osugi plays a father who is aloof to his son (Yudai Chiba) but finds a common connection when his son gifts him a copy of Final Fantasy XIV and secretly befriends his father’s character to help him through the MMO. The series debuted globally on Netflix last year.

Our Thoughts

We would like to offer our condolences to the Osugi family for their loss. While we’ve only been directly associated with Mr. Osugi through his work on Dad of Light, it’s clear that he has had a long and storied career in Japanese TV and film, and would like to thank him for his performance in the Dad of Light series.

Source: Oricon News via Kotaku

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The World Health Organization and Gaming Addiction

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on April 7th, 1948 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. As a body it has been instrumental in the eradication of smallpox. Its current priorities include communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, Ebola, malaria and tuberculosis; the mitigation of the effects of non-communicable diseases; sexual and reproductive health, development, and ageing; nutrition, food security and healthy eating; occupational health; substance abuse; and driving the development of reporting, publications, and networking. Recently, unlike other health institutions, WHO has chosen to address the thorny issue of gaming addiction; a condition that is still heavily disputed and lacks a universally agreed definition.

WHO intend to formally list gaming addiction as a mental health condition later this year. The draft document describes it as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”. This definition, as stipulated by WHO, correlates with several other countries that have already identified this addiction as a major health issue. There are already private addiction clinics that “treat” this condition and the actions of WHO have certainly brought this particular health issue to the wider public’s attention. By adding gaming addiction to the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases, it removes some of the incredulity that the condition has met from certain health bodies.

WHO Criteria for Gaming Addiction

The WHO guide contains codes for diseases, signs, and symptoms and is used by doctors and researchers worldwide to track and diagnose disease. The guide will suggest that abnormal gaming behavior should be in evidence over a period of at least 12 months “for a diagnosis to be assigned” but has stipulated that period might be shortened “if symptoms are severe”. At present, the symptoms for gaming addiction include impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration), increased priority given to gaming and continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences. Some healthcare professionals have welcomed the decision to recognize the condition. Dr. Richard Graham, lead technology addiction specialist at the Nightingale Hospital in London said “It is significant because it creates the opportunity for more specialized services. It puts it on the map as something to take seriously”. However, he also stated that he would have sympathy for those who do not think the condition should be medicalized because he did see scope for misdiagnosis at present. “It could lead to confused parents whose children are just enthusiastic gamers.”

It is this point that seems to be the biggest stumbling block for the universal acceptance of a medical condition of this nature. How exactly do you verify that the alleged addiction is actually taking up all available “neurological real-estate” and dominating thinking and becoming a total preoccupation for the patient? Because fandom per se can at time mirror these qualities. Subsequently, many psychiatrists currently refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in which internet gaming disorder is listed as a “condition for further study”, meaning it is not officially recognized. Because of this reasoning and prevailing attitude, it is clear that WHO may find their formal declaration challenged for the present. However, irrespective of the medical and semantical disputes, the field of game-related addiction is still being scrutinized around the world. South Korea has introduced a legislation banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 6:00 AM, although effectively enforcing such regulation is difficult.

 

The Game Industry Response

There has also been a degree of pushback from those in the video games development and retail industry. Naturally, as interested parties, they are concerned about misdiagnosis and scope for ill-conceived legislation that may be rushed to address public concerns and tabloid campaigning. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) trade group released a statement downplaying the WHO’s concerns about addiction to video games and stated “Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than 2 billion people around the world enjoy video games. The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive. And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action.”

It is clear that the video game industry is concerned about regulation and the potential impact the public perception of gaming addiction may have on sales. The problem lies in how to reconcile the positions of both WHO and bodies such as ESA. Both groups have genuine concerns. However, self-regulation and consumer concerns can often conflict with corporate interests and we have seen in the past several industries that do have harmful side effects fight tooth and nail to refute such claims. There is also the issue of once a universal definition for gaming addiction has been established, exactly what needs to be done to address the matter. So far, the most practical ideas are based around labeling and providing health warnings both on physical media, its packaging, as well as via digital platforms. Automated messages based on time spent in-game, as well as FAQs on login screens, are other possible avenues. Raising public awareness through labeling and media campaigns has proven beneficial with other health issues such as diet and alcohol consumption.

Gaming Addiction

Addressing “Gaming Addiction”

Another concern regarding gaming addiction is the creation of yet another “label” that can be either misdiagnosed, appropriated incorrectly or used pejoratively by the tabloid press. The symptoms of gaming addiction according to the WHO as they currently stand, could be ascribed to many children. Yet there are those who would argue such behavior may be down to poor parenting which is theoretically a lot easier to correct. Using handheld devices and consoles as surrogate babysitters is no different from using the TV thirty years ago. There is also the possibility that gaming addiction could become the new “darling” of compensation culture and personal accident claims. I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility that we could see a substantial class action against a game major publisher at some point. Then, of course, there is a risk that the average gamer could find themselves tarnished by fear and prejudice associated with gaming addiction, regardless of whether they personally are or not. Many gamers already do not include gaming as a hobby or pastime on their resumé for exactly that reason. It isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine certain quarters of the press trying to label all gamers as potential addicts and an employment risk.

Irrespective of whether you personally agree with the definition of gaming addiction as stated by WHO, I believe that the very fact that they’ve tried to address the issue is a positive thing and that there will now be a lot more research into the condition. In the fullness of time, we may finally arrive at an agreed and succinct set of criteria, or we may find the complete opposite is true. That gaming addiction ultimately stems from an addictive personality per se, and that playing games is merely a conduit. Under such circumstance, addiction may occur via any leisure activity, thus exonerating gaming. Either way, it is important that such matters are properly understood so appropriate treatments can be established. Also, fully understanding the situation means that the industry can work to accommodate addiction, rather than ignore it or exploit it directly. We may see some governments implement impractical knee-jerk rules and regulations, but we may also see the matter tackled in a mature and measured way by more progressive administrations.

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Kansas Man Dies in Swatting

It’s a headline that we all knew we would see one day, Man Dies in Swatting. Sadly, the time has come. Andrew Finch, aged 28 was shot by police officers answering the door to the Swat team at his door on December 28th.

According to police, they were answering a call that said there was a hostage situation on the Witchita block that Finch lived on. As Finch came to the door an officer fired. Police say it isn’t clear yet why the officer fired his weapon. His family who were at the home at the time, however, has said that he wasn’t carrying any weapons.

On Twitter, an account which has now been suspended sent out a tweet saying “That kids house that I swatted is on the news.” This tweet is reportedly coming from one side of an argument about Call of Duty. According to Dexerto, the argument was over a $2 wager. The person on the other side of the argument had given a fake address, which is how police ended up at Finch’s house. Finch himself wasn’t a gamer.

On Twitter, more than a dozen people who identified themselves as CoD players contacted The Wichita Eagle letting them know about the feud. Overnight the Twitter account who claimed to have made the call was suspended. But before the suspension took place they had this to say.

The Twitter account of the intended target has also been taken offline.

The police officer who fired the shot is a 7 year veteran of the police department. They have been placed on administrative paid leave, which is the department’s policy. The investigation into the swatting is ongoing and it is expected that more information will be released by the police later today.

Andrew Finch leaves behind two children, ages 2 and 7.

 

Source: Kansas.com, Dexerto

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