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World Health Organization now recognizes “Gaming Disorder” as an official illness

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In an interesting decision on May 25th, the World Health Organization (WHO) is officially recognizing gaming addiction as an illness.

While this decision is aimed at the broader gaming industry, the rise of Fortnite has absolutely contributed to this classification.

No game truly entered the mainstream culture quite like Fortnite. With its unique style and accessibility over all platforms, Fortnite’s popularity is staggering.

Apparently enough cases were reported to the WHO that the organization felt the need to classify gaming addiction (disorder) as a an official illness.

Here is the official definition of gaming disorder from the WHO:

“A pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by:

  • Impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);
  • Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and
  • Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

While most gamers immediate reaction is to laugh off a decision like this, gaming addiction has actually manifested itself with serious consequences.

In 2015, a Taiwanese man was found dead after a 3-day gaming binge, and he wasn’t the only person to die while gaming.

Now it is easy to dismiss those cases, but addiction can be real and brutal. Even if you can easily separate yourself from gaming, others may not be able to.

However, this report definitely does seem like it comes from people who don’t understand why you can’t pause an online game. They talked to “experts in various fields” but no one knows what their conversations were like behind closed doors.

How will the WHO decision impact gaming?

This is the interesting part. Having an official distinction for gaming disorder gives parents more ammo in the argument against playing a ton of video games.

Is this something that can be diagnosed? What is the treatment for it?

Will people end up going to gaming rehab? There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this decision.

In short, it probably doesn’t affect much. Games publishers are going to push back on the decision, something the Entertainment Software Association had already done before the final decision was made.

“[This decision] recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder,” the ESA said in January according to gamesindustry.biz.

There won’t be any mandates on how much people can game that weren’t already established by parents.

Best reactions to the “gaming disorder” decision

There is a huge pushback from the gaming and Fortnite community right now. People are comparing gaming to other time sucks like binge watching Netflix or spending hours on Reddit.

How is gaming really that much different? Here are some of the best tweets about the decision:

Even CouRage’s mom got in on the criticisms:

She brings up a good point of all the good gaming can do. Unlike drug or alcohol addiction which have no positives, gaming is a legitimate career. Gaming will only become a larger part of the world and teaching kids how to get jobs in this industry is what we should be doing, not classifying it as a disease.

Teach moderation absolutely, but calling this a disease is just so weird. Maybe they only mean the very extreme cases like the deaths linked above, but more people die from cows each year than gaming. (That’s actually true, did you know 22 people die every year from cow related injuries?)

Anyway, in the last two nights I have played multiple hours of Fortnite with my younger brother and a good friend growing up, and it didn’t feel like a harmful addiction, just making good memories with good people who live five hours away.

If we are going to acknowledge the bad in gaming, we must also recognize the good in it.

Esports

Clix signs with NRG Fortnite

NRG Signs Cody ‘Clix’ Conrod to their Fortnite roster.

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This past week, speculation has been swirling about where one of the hottest names in Fortnite will land. Cody ‘Clix’ Conrod has been teasing an organization announcement for the better part of the last fortnight (pun intended). He even trolled everyone with a “Joined FaZe Clan” tweet that fooled some members of the community.

On July 1, NRG announced that Clix would be the newest member of their Fortnite roster. The 15-year-old pro has already racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars playing Fortnite, qualifying for the World Cup a whopping five times.

This signing comes after the high-profile acquisition of fellow Fortnite pro, UnknownxArmy. NRG is clearly dedicated to the future of competitive Fortnite, with one of the most talented rosters in the game. Clix joins the likes of Zayt, Edgey, Unknown, EpicWhale, and BenjyFishy on the official NRG Fortnite roster.

The future is bright for this young pro, both in Fortnite and in gaming. NRG sured-up an already stacked Fortnite roster and looks to solidify their position at the top of Fortnite esports. Clix is completing a 24-hour stream for his organization announcement, which you can watch here.

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Patch Notes

Epic reduce Choppa spawn rates in competitive Fortnite

Epic are responding to one of the biggest problem in competitive Fortnite: helicopters.

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Epic seem to be taking the competitive Fortnite scene a lot more seriously in Fortnite Chapter 2. Chapter 1 was plagued with meddlesome items and vehicles like the Junk Rift, BRUTE, Baller, and X-4 Stormwing. In Chapter 2, they simplified the loot pool, added an “evaluation period” to new items, and made adjustments where they needed to.

Helicopters were left out of competitive modes in Fortnite Season 2. A lot of players wondered why that was – it seemed like a balanced vehicle. Well, in Chapter 2 Season 3, we saw the problem that Epic were avoiding.

Pro scrimmages and high-level Arena matches were immediately dominated by helicopters. You’d see four or more Choppas in the sky as the zones closed, all ignoring one another in pursuit of higher placements. It seemed like we were entering Baller and plane territory with the Choppa.

On June 26, Epic released a hotfix to Fortnite that reduced the spawn rate of helicopters in competitive modes. This might not eliminate the problem, but it will lower the frequency of the issue.

The one question that we have is: are these helicopter spawn locations static or did Epic nerf the spawn rate, only. If the latter is true, then players will have to roll the dice with their drop spot. The Authority may or may not have a helicopter, for instance.

While this hotfix might be a bandaid on a bigger issue, it shows that Epic are listening to their competitive community and taking action when they need to. It’s a far cry from Season X where they left the BRUTE in competitive modes, unchecked, for weeks.

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Esports

Epic Games respond to claims that they failed to pay Fortnite pros

Epic Games has contacted us with an official response to claims that they failed to pay some Fortnite pro players.

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Yesterday, we covered a story about pro players and content creators calling out Epic Games for failing to pay them their tournament winnings and Support-A-Creator earnings. You can take a look at the original story here.

On June 25, Epic Games reached out to us with a statement on the issue, clarifying why some of the prize money and Creator Code earnings have been held up. Below is the official statement from Epic Games on the matter.

Via: Epic Games

Epic Games’ official response to FortniteINTEL

“Recently, we experienced delays to Competitive prizes due to two separate issues. The first issue was related to our DreamHack Anaheim event. Here, we encountered delays due to additional California state tax withholding that required manual processing of payments outside of our Hyperwallet payment system. All prizes for DreamHack Anaheim have been sent directly to player bank accounts. These prizes should be deposited in the respective winners accounts in the next few days. We apologize for the delay.

The second issue was related to overpayments for some prize winners of online cups due to a clerical error and required manual correction. Now that we have sorted out the overpayment issues, we are back on track to process prizes in a more timely manner.

Regarding Support-A-Creator payouts, there are two issues at play. The first relates to us running into obstacles as we transition to a new payment system, including bugs and delays. We appreciate Creators who have been patient as we make this transition and resolve those issues. Creators who are encountering issues should watch our Hyperwallet Account Activation tutorial or reach out to Support-A-Creator Player Support for assistance.

The second issue involves creators who have violated the terms of the Support-A-Creator program by scamming or defrauding players. Typically these individuals create social media material that falsely promises special benefits to players relating to a specific Support-A-Creator code. The players use the code but never receive the special benefits they were promised. When these accounts are detected or reported, we remove these creators from the program and do not pay out their fraudulent accounts. We take these violations seriously, and are looking at additional measures to prevent bad actors from abusing the program, up to and including potential legal action.”

There should be a more detailed blog post from Epic Games on the topic within the hour, giving more information on all of these issues. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.

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