It’s easy to see video games as harmless. While there is greater awareness on alcohol abuse or gambling, online gaming is viewed as nothing more than a hobby. It’s less harmful than drinking. Most individuals play without developing addiction. And it’s exactly this line of thinking that makes it difficult for gamers to realize they have a problem.
Research shows that video games are addicting because they constantly give rewards. In a video game, a player is generally rewarded after a task or tasks are completed. The number of tasks may vary from as little as one to as many as 10, but it doesn’t matter. The player knows the reward will come. This schedule of rewards encourages the player to spend more time with the game, knowing that he will eventually be rewarded.
A new player in a game will usually do and accomplish tasks alone. But, after some time, he can join a group and perform tasks with other people. The player develops a connection with the team. Thus, the player would want to improve his character further, so he can make more contributions to the team. If he does not develop with the team, he may be not be allowed to take certain quests or go to other parts of the game’s world. Lastly, many rewarding quests can only be accomplished with a group. As a result, the player would be online whenever his teammates are, which could lead to him playing more hours. As social creatures therefore, being part of a team further reinforces the addiction.
Video game worlds evolve and develop even if the player is not playing. If a player is not playing, he may feel like he’s missing out, even left behind. To avoid “missing” out, he plays as much as possible.
Companies constantly expand their game. As players become grow tired of the online worlds, these companies add new areas to explore, new abilities to play with, new quests to take, and more characters to create.