You can expect to hear a lot about the addictive nature of video games over the next few days, because the World Health Organisation has just published the latest draft of its updated International Classification of Diseases manual, and a, "gaming disorder," is listed as a genuine medical condition.

It's been a long time coming; we first heard about its potential inclusion back in January. These things clearly take a lot of time and consideration; this is the 11th revision of the manual, and the 10th revision was approved way back in 1992.

The WHO defines, "gaming disorder," as:

Characterised by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.

It's clear then that the WHO doesn't rush into things or make rash judgments, and since the last revision of the manual has had ample time to study the impact of games on our daily lives. But the news has been met with a rather polarised reception, despite many horror stories of kids playing Fortnite for 10 hours a day and people even dying at their computers. Many within the games industry have questioned the validity of the research, while others have welcomed the inevitable dialogue such news encourages.

But what do you think? Do you believe that gaming, like other substance-free addictions such as gambling, can really take over your life? How many hours do you think is normal to play video games each week? Could you give up games and walk away without any ill-effects? And why isn't more attention given to stuff like smartphone, TV and web addiction, if games are ruled to be potentially harmful?

We've set up a series of polls below so you can let us know your thoughts, and please do use the comments section if you'd like to talk about this in more detail.

Roughly how many hours a week do you play games? (673 votes)

  1. An hour or less1%
  2. 1 to 3 hours8%
  3. 4 to 6 hours21%
  4. 7 to 9 hours19%
  5. 10 hours or more31%
  6. In excess of 20 hours19%

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Do you think it's possible to be addicted to video games? (680 votes)

  1. Yes80%
  2. No13%
  3. I'm not sure7%

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Could you give up playing video games if you had to? (673 votes)

  1. Yes56%
  2. No22%
  3. I'm not sure23%

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Have you ever felt that your love of games has had a negative effect on other parts of your life? (662 votes)

  1. Yes33%
  2. No58%
  3. I'm not sure9%

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Do you think gaming is any worse a compulsion than watching the TV, surfing the web or looking at your smartphone for hours on end? (673 votes)

  1. Yes3%
  2. No94%
  3. I'm not sure3%

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Do you think that video gaming has a positive effect on your life? (675 votes)

  1. Yes86%
  2. No4%
  3. I'm not sure10%

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[source icd.who.int]