The 194 members of the World Health Organization voted to classify “gaming disorder” as a disease. The decision was made this Saturday, at the 72nd World Health Assembly.


In June 2018, the WHO included “gaming disorder” in the eleventh edition of International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11). The document describes the condition as  “a pattern of behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

According to the WHO, for gaming disorder to be diagnosed, these symptoms must persist for at least 12 months.

The decision came under criticism from the video games trade organizations, such as ESA, ISFE and UKie, which called on the WHO to conduct further research. As far the industry is concerned, gaming disorder might just be the symptom of several other underlying conditions.

Earlier, ESA president Stanley Pierre-Louis said that the WHO jeopardizes the positive effect games have had on job growth, innovation, and international trade.

Notwithstanding the reaction from the industry, the WHO adopted ICD-11 along with the inclusion of gaming disorder. It will come into effect on January 1, 2022.