Swedish Youth Group Says WOW is Like Cocaine

In what is sure to cause great debate (and probably a healthy stream of jokes and parodies as well), the founder of a Swedish youth organization is singling out World of Warcraft as a very addictive game. How addictive? He has labeled World of Warcraft as "the cocaine of the computer games world."

This claim comes from Sven Rollenhagen, founder of the non-profit youth group, Stiftelsen Ungdomsvård (The Youth Care Foundation), located south of Stockholm, Sweden. Rollenhagen founded the group in 1991, and it provides support for youths living at home, from sources such as social workers, psychologists, physical training, teachers, and doctors, as well as offering opportunities such as outdoor adventuring, internships, and mentoring. The organization's target group is adolescents and young adults who are at risk from substance abuse, criminal activity, computer game addiction, relationship issues, family problems, school difficulties, depression, burnout, or neuropsychiatric diagnoses. After perusing the organization's site using Google Translate (which is how much of the information in this paragraph was gleaned), we discovered that the group "also works with adult computer game addiction and its relatives."

The organization is accusing World of Warcraft as being so addictive, "based on the experiences of gamers and their parents who have been in contact with the group." Rollenhagen told the Swedish newspaper, Metro: "There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part." These findings are being rolled up into a report that the organization plans on publishing. It is unknown at this time, how much of these findings are based on scientific study or on anecdotal observations. It is also unknown at this point if Rollenhagen's comments are a true indication of how much the report specifically skewers World of Warcraft, or if his comments were meant to be more attention getting, while the report actually focuses more on general games addiction, without necessarily singling out any one game title.

The group's Website offers the following signs of games addiction--not necessarily specific to World of Warcraft (the below text is via Google Translate):

1. tolerance increase ie the player plays more and "cooler" game more often
2. abstinence: the player becomes restless, irritable, depressed, etc. when the game "absence"
3. negative consequences for the school, internships / jobs: truancy, missed tests, lower grades, dismissal from jobs ...
4. serious conflicts with family and friends: a fight about noon time, other responsibilities, etc.
5. focus and the admission unit on computer games, even during non-playing time reading, talking and thinking player in the game
6. the player lying about game times and other games around to calm environment
7. disturbed daily rhythm, evident in the night, sleeping on days
8. lack of interest in old hobbies and friends
9. deterioration of health and fitness due to sedentary indoor

There has been no official statement issued yet from Blizzard Entertainment, publisher of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft, to address this issue--nor is it know if there will even be one. However, with over 11.5 million gamers playing World of Warcraft, there is a large-enough pool statistically for at least some players to also be true game addicts. In the United States, computer game addiction is not currently recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) or American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a formal diagnosis--although the APA did consider adding "video game addiction" into the next edition (to be published in 2012) of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); but the recommendation to add it was ultimately rejected, citing that more research was still needed. English-language, Swedish news site, The Local reports that "according to the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet), the problem with computer game addiction is large in Sweden although there is currently no medical diagnosis of the condition."

Replay video | Share video | Watch more videos

There have been sporadic new stories of people who either died or harmed themselves while playing World of Warcraft. Also, back in 2005, a story of an infant who died while her parents were at an Internet Café for several hours playing World of Warcraft was making the rounds on the Internet. Poking fun at World of Warcraft, South Park devoted an entire episode ("Make Love, Not Warcraft") in 2007 to spoofing players' propensity to become truly obsessed with the game. The behavior of a number of the South Park characters in that episode exhibited more than a few of the symptoms from the The Youth Care Foundation's list of signs of games addiction.
Via:  The Local
3vi1 5 years ago

I played EverQuest for six years. Loved it. I played a lot of MUDs, Meridian59, UO, CoH, etc. that I found enjoyable as well.

I paid for a month of WoW, played for one week, said "Meh" and cancelled my account and didn't even using the remaining weeks. My friends that kept playing had maxed their level inside of a month.

EQ may have been overly harsh with the death penalties, but there are so little difficulty in WoW that there was no sense of accomplishment. Top that with higher level players just running their friends and alts through dungeons non-stop for no-risk loot and you've got a true snooze-fest. The art and character animation is the only exceptional aspect that I can think

So, every time I hear about someone addicted to WoW, I think to myself "They must have never played any good MMORPGs". That, or they must be in a guild with really interesting people whose company they enjoy... because the game isn't all that.

3vi1 5 years ago

"think of."

Super Dave 5 years ago

HotHardware is MY cocaine!Stick out tongue


newyorkdan 5 years ago

HotHardware is more my heroin than my cocaine. My cocaine would have to be Battlestar Galactica!

3vi1 5 years ago

Gamer #1: "Did you hear? A study says WoW is just like Cocaine!"

Gamer #2: "Really?... I gotta try this 'Cocaine' stuff!"

Riks 5 years ago

  gotta love that episode



never really got into world of warcraft.. kinda thing that's a good thing.

pearl117 5 years ago


i have played game very much before,and then i often have headachs.

now i play 3 times a week.

i think gameing that is very exciting..

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

I used to play Anarchy online. I eventually got tired of having to have a wizard(Or whatever class that was) to buff me to go into battle and not fail. I tried Wow and like you 3vi1 never payed for another month. MMOs have never really been my type of game though.

AlaskaDrew 5 years ago

Somehow I doubt a lot of these people have even done cocaine. I have not played WOW so I can't say if its anything like coke but how about saying WOW is like cookies instead?

jeremy 5 years ago

"The organization's target group is adolescents and young adults who are at risk from substance abuse, criminal activity, computer game addiction, relationship issues, family problems, school difficulties, depression, burnout, or neuropsychiatric diagnoses."

With a laser focused "vision" like that, I think they could've put the period immediately after "adolescents and young adults" and said the same thing. Just about every person in that age group would be considered "at risk" for at least one of those. lol

FWIW, EVE: Online is the most addictive game I've ever played. "Deep" does begin to describe the complexities of that game. I've been playing it (at time more than I probably should) for over 2 years now. There's just something cool about 40,000+ users online on the same server in the same universe simulataneously.

sackyhack 4 years ago

Wow, this topic's over a year old...

acarzt 4 years ago

lol... yea... this one should of stayed buried. lol

Also a lot of the guys I work with play this game, and I hear them talking about it all the time. It drives me crazy lol

I hate that game :-P

Post a Comment
or Register to comment