Cracking the code: Is gaming dangerously addictive or pathway to new riches?

HOUSTON - Are people turning into zombies because they're hooked on playing video games? Playing video games may turn into more than just a pastime for players.

The World Health Organization now warns some people can actually become addicted. For the first time they're calling gaming a mental health disorder.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak with WHO Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse says, "It should be clearly defined behavioral pattern of such intensity of such a nature that it takes precedence over other activities which have been important for an individual in the past."

According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 160 million American adults play video games, but the percentage of people who could qualify for the disorder is extremely small.

So while there may be a dark side to gaming, it's far more likely to lead to new opportunities instead.

Chris Buckner, the CEO and co-founder of Fanreact, has his company trying to keep up with the exploding popularity of video gaming.

Buckner said, "Right now we currently employ 23 full-time developers and of those 23, three of which are working strictly on the esports product and that doesn't include the casters, production, that doesn't include community managers, so there's a lot of growth potential for people who are wanting to get into esports."

Njsane Courtney is hoping to take advantage of the craze as he's in midst of renovating a building in downtown Houston to become an esports hotspot with Next Level.

"Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted a place that people could hang out and play games and just come together as a community as an online gaming community so this is the first step in the process of that vision," Courtney said.

The first step to games is making them .

I.D. Tech Camp is a week long summer program to learn coding held at college campuses across the country.

Kids 7 to 17 get to learn new or develop existing skills in subjects like programming, robotics and design.

"It's been crazy. We've been approached by a lot of high schools that want to do curriculum in esports. Now days, you can get scholarships from colleges for esports and while that may be more on the playing side of things," Buckner said.

Varsity collegiate e-sports began in 2014 when Robert Morris University in Illinois announced a scholarship-sponsored League of Legends team.

In just four years, the scene has ballooned to include 64 programs, with a national governing body known as the National Association of Collegiate E-Sports.

The only school in Texas with a varsity program is Texas Wesleyan.

It's clear video gaming is continuing to grow, so the possibility of addiction can be real.

"Any vice taken in excess is something that needs to be watched but all in all gaming can be very positive. A lot of schools are using gaming and simulations to teach kids now, but gaming is here to stay," Courtney said. "I think with anything else, if parents are concerned about that, my first statement is pay attention to the games your kids are playing. Not every game is suitable for every person.

Buckner added,  "There's a healthy way of going about it and as long as parents see that, there is plenty of opportunity in esports. And if you're doing it and guiding in the right way, it's a good thing, I think."

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