NHL Team Institutes 'No Video Game' Policy For Players Due To Fortnite 'Addiction'

from the i-need-my-fix dept

Video game addiction as a concept has been tossed around for the past decade or so, with mixed feelings coming from all sides. Disagreement abounds as to whether or not gaming addiction is a real thing, both among medical professionals as well as the public. There's even disagreement among Techdirt writers (disclosure: I don't think it's a thing).

But as the concept continues to infect the common public lexicon, it's something we're going to hear more and more about. It's something of a checkpoint, therefore, that the issue has risen to the level of an NHL team instituting a ban on gaming for players while on the road visiting other cities.

The Canucks “veterans,” such as they are, have led the players to self-institute a ban on all video games on the road. “No more Fortnite,” Bo Horvat told TSN 1040.

“In my opinion, there’s better ways to spend time on the road, whether it’s hanging with the guys in the room or going to a movie with the guys. There’s a lot of cool cities we visit and to be cooped up in your room all night, playing Fortnite, is a waste of your time.”

The tie-in for gaming addition here is that last year the Canucks claimed that a young un-named player was inactive and seeking counseling for video game addiction. Whether this player-led ban on gaming is a direct result of that incident, or simply a scapegoat for the Canucks being fairly bad at professional hockey as of late, is unknown. What is known is that this ban pretty squarely centers around Fortnite, which is amazing advertising for just how fun and enjoyable that game is.

More interesting to me is how the team appears to be taking the blunt-tool approach that mirrors what many parents do in fear of video game addiction. These kinds of blanket bans, taking into consideration nothing about how individual players, or children, can handle gaming appropriately, is almost certainly a mistake. Even if video game addiction is indeed a thing, it must be true that it's a thing that will afflict a minority of the population. That makes these blanket bans massive overkill.

But don't be surprised to hear this story raised in NHL broadcasts if the Canucks manage to be less than awful this year.


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Oct 2018 @ 6:52pm

    'We don't like it, why would you?'

    “In my opinion, there’s better ways to spend time on the road, whether it’s hanging with the guys in the room or going to a movie with the guys. There’s a lot of cool cities we visit and to be cooped up in your room all night, playing Fortnite, is a waste of your time.”

    Unless, you know, the people playing Fortnight consider 'hanging with the guys or going to a movie' to be less fun than playing a game(one in which they can play with the other players if desired, just like the other activities), almost as though different people consider different things to be enjoyable, which in turn determines what they consider a 'waste of time'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Gary (profile), 9 Oct 2018 @ 7:17pm

    Life on the Road

    Wow, stuck in a hotel room in a strange city and they'd prefer the team goes to a bar than staying in with a computer. Where they can socialize with people all over the globe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Oct 2018 @ 8:25pm

    Re: 'We don't like it, why would you?'

    That sort of logic sounds like Christian fundamentalism. Such fundamentalists never feel satisfied with choosing their own path—they want to dictate everyone else’s, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Killercool (profile), 9 Oct 2018 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Life on the Road

    Look, if you aren't drunk and getting in fights, why even play hockey?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2018 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Life on the Road

    You can't sell tickets to barfights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2018 @ 11:44pm

    Horvat thinks games are a waste of time. I think hockey is a waste of time. People get injured (sometimes having permanent effects) for the sake of a violent competition that won't matter in a few years.

    Meanwhile, gamers exercise their brain via an ever evolving combination of memorization and strategies on a broad level that they can adapt to whatever game they move to next.

    In actual sports, the strategies and knowledge become near useless outside the sport, especially if they are no longer able to play.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 12:47am

    Addicition is obviously a real thing. Video game addiction is just as much a target of obsession and addiction as anything else. People claim (figuratively or literally) to be addicted to all manner of things. Video games is just the newest craze is all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 12:54am

    Re:

    "There’s a lot of cool cities we visit and to be cooped up in your room all night, playing Fortnite, is a waste of your time.”"

    As, according to many people, is watching or playing hockey.

    “In my opinion, there’s better ways to spend time on the road, whether it’s hanging with the guys in the room or going to a movie with the guys"

    Why are your guys so afraid to go anywhere alone? If I'm in a new city, I'm going to go and see the sights if I'm not in my room, checking out the local history, nightlife and culture, not presumably going to see the same movies that will be playing in every city I go to with the same people I see every day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Killercool (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 1:29am

    Re:

    IF (big if) video game addiction is real, it is a symptom, not a primary illness. Like jaundice, it's an immediately visible problem, but ultimately caused by something else.

    If you treat someone's video game addiction without treating the underlying problem (depression, probably), they will likely move onto some other, more harmful, addiction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    alternatives(), 10 Oct 2018 @ 1:46am

    addiction

    Is there addiction? Tim says no.

    Yet - input of information changes the behaviour of people. Shape the information and you can change the behaviour.

    The book propaganda begot the entire industry of public relations. Marshall McLuhan points out the change in the brain wave patterns when television was watched. The research into the brain has a phrase "Neurons that fire together wire together." and the repetitive nature of a video game is going to promote such wiring. The entire narrative about the 2016 election WRT troll farms. Data about how Facebook tries to be 'sticky' or causes dopamine releases.

    Somehow all the effort spent with advertising, troll farms, and even making visual/audio art with a message is NOT applicable to moving visuals with audio BECAUSE said moving visuals with audio are called a video game?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 2:19am

    Re:

    I imagine that some are even addicted to sports .. like hockey for example.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 2:20am

    Re: addiction

    Not sure what the point is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 2:30am

    Re: addiction

    Even granting all of that for the sake of argument, behavioral and/or thought pattern changes does not addiction make unless it reaches the point where the addict feels the need to access the thing that they are addicted to, whether that be a game, drug or whatnot.

    A simple change in mental state, and/or change in behavior to one that includes more of a given activity/substance does not necessarily equate to addiction, unless you want to start lumping in a whole slew of things like eating particular foods because you enjoy them, reading books or even something as simple as exercise, all of which can cause and involve changes to your mental state and/or actions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Killercool (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: addiction

    Well, even then, a "need" is not considered "addiction" until it is harmful - such as damaging relationships, or interfering harmfully with normal life functions like work and socialization (turning into a shut-in).

    Prioritizing a videogame over going drinking with the guys you work with (pro-level teammates are coworkers) is NOT losing out on socializing. When I have to travel for work, it's all I can manage just to clean my clothes, let alone go paint the town red.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re: Re: addiction

    "Prioritizing a videogame over going drinking with the guys you work with (pro-level teammates are coworkers) is NOT losing out on socializing."

    Especially when one of the alternate activities suggested is going to sit with them in a dark room without talking for a couple of hours (hopefully, at least. I know some people lack even the basic cinema etiquette). Why not just have them sit together when playing Fortnite and build up a bit on banter while doing so, if physical proximity is what matters?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Killercool (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 4:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: addiction

    Honestly, when I first saw this article, I went, "Oh damn! They're playing so much it's interfering with their sleep! Ha! How relata-wait, what? Another one of these guys..."

    "Oh, you're sitting in front of a screen too much. You're much better off sitting in front of this OTHER screen."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    mcinsand, 10 Oct 2018 @ 4:54am

    Re: addiction

    So, basically 'addiction' is no longer a useful word, especially since it still carries connotations of when it had more meaning decades ago. Now, the word no longer indicates such a strong connection that withholding whatever would present serious health risks. 'Addiction' now refers to anything that a person would enjoy enough to do more than once.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Chode, 10 Oct 2018 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Life on the Road

    Or can you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Gary (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 6:14am

    Re: addiction

    Media, advertising and video games can be _compelling_ without being _addicting._
    Commercials have the power to sway opinion - but you don't get the shakes if you don't watch them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    Know what else people can be addicted to?

    Hint: It often involves hanging around in bars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    crade (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 6:29am

    Sounds sponsored to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: addiction

    Now, the word no longer indicates such a strong connection that withholding whatever would present serious health risks.

    Did it ever? What are the health risks of avoiding alcohol for example? There may be withdrawal symptoms but nothing that would be a health risk.

    'Addiction' now refers to anything that a person would enjoy enough to do more than once.

    No, it refers to something they're compelled to do—whether or not they still like it, even if they want to stop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:00am

    addiction is the wrong word

    I'm addicted to:
    02
    h20
    food

    everything else is just behavior, comfort (like entertainment) and social norms (like clothing)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    I.T. Guy, 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re:

    Or sometimes you just want to chill. Unless you are a rookie, most of these guys have done the circuit, seen the sights. I go to NY for a week twice a year. First and second year were great. Did the tourist thing. After the third year and six weeks... meh. At the end of the day let me eat my $30 hotel cheeseburger and watch TV. I have been doing that for 7 years now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    crade (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re: addiction

    There is a hard line between something that causes tolerance changes and withdrawal if you stop and something that doesn't.
    People *can* become addicted to basically anything, and their addiction is still real, but that doesn't mean everything is addictive.

    In my opinion labeling something as addictive should be backed by the science of how and why it actually causes addiction more than anything else people enjoy doing. Labeling someone as having an addiction on the other hand should be easy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:20am

    I don't think something is an addiction if you can still eat, still sleep, still speak with your family/friends, still go to work on time, and still bathe and use the washroom properly.

    When an action becomes so engrossing that you start to ignore all these basics of life, then yes, I think you might have an addiction.

    Even gamers that use games as their sole evening cooldown after work don't qualify for this; they still know that they can't play all night if they have work the next day.

    Even livestreamers and "YouTube" gamers who edit their experiences for others to see, *shouldn't* meet any of these criteria. You'd be seeing zombified people in those little "face cam" windows instead of receiving their commentary and personal anecdotes.

    You could probably make a better argument that it makes people unhealthy from all the sitting down instead of being obsessed with playing. How many people admit to regularly "binging" streaming shows for hours on end? How is that significantly different from gaming?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Or sometimes you just want to chill"

    Well that too, of course. Not being a sports fan I assumed we would be talking about new places, whereas now that I think about it, obviously teams are often going to be going to places they've been to before.

    But, yeah, it's understandable that the shine is going to fade after a couple of visits, and if you're going to a city for work rather than pleasure you might not want to be there in the first place, and would rather stay in your room sometimes.

    I don't agree with the idea that the team that's just been travelling together need to do everything together when they get to the destination, nor that sitting in one room is far superior to sitting in another, but I certainly do understand why sitting in the hotel might be preferable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:35am

    Re:

    Everything is an ad these days

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Ankit names, 10 Oct 2018 @ 7:56am

    dude seriously ?

    i mean no game policy what is that ? haha

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    stderric (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 9:19am

    “No more Fortnite,” Bo Horvat told TSN 1040.

    A guy whose income depends on people buying tickets to watch him play a game doesn't want his teammates playing Fortnite in their off hours... because free time is better spent doing things that don't involve games?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    CaptainPeaSea, 10 Oct 2018 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Life on the Road

    Classic Chode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 9:58am

    "There’s a lot of cool cities we visit and to be cooped up in your room all night, reading books, is a waste of your time.” they should ban books while they are at it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 10:05am

    Everything is an addiction!

    I get booze & drugs being an addiction. It isn't just a failure to be strong, there are chemical changes in the brain & if you don't get your fix you get very ill.

    I don't get video game addiction.
    Parents jumping up and down demanding someone pass a law to keep their kid from playing Fortnite.
    Ummm idiot, you are the adult, you pay the bills.
    Turning off the internet is totally in your power, taking away the phone or computer is possible, hell you can even still find basic flip phones that can't run fortnite to give your kids if you feel they need a phone. It isn't child abuse if your kids phone costs less than $800.

    They are your shitty offspring, take responsibility.
    The village doesn't need to handle every task in raising your kids. Let the kid be mad at you, extend the punishment if you need to. Explain the rules & enforce them.

    The team banning Fortnite is stupid. They are adults playing a game that can cripple them for for life, but can't be trusted to make decisions for themselves?? That nursing a concussion in the hotel room while playing Fortnite might be more attractive than stumbling around town slurring words at a photo op.

    I'm addicted to shopping
    I'm addicted to chocolate
    I'm addicted to coffee
    I'm addicted to x....

    We do a disservice to the real addicts.
    There are people who are prone to addiction & require mental health professionals to keep their demons at bay.
    How much of a service do we do them when we make light of it?
    Well I'm addicted to sex too!!! har har har...
    Where an actual sex addict isn't doing it for enjoyment, but chasing a momentary high that then is followed by deep self loathing so they chase the high again to the detriment of a 'normal' life.

    Kids aren't addicted to video games. Parents are addicted to pretending they never have to parent their kids & the world will do it for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    True, parents don't want to be the "bad guy", they want to be their kid's best buddy to avoid as many conflicts as possible.

    It doesn't work, and you end up with spoiled kids that turn into spoiled adults who are poor at dealing with life's normal pitfalls. Being wrong and failing are par for the course.

    Wish I'd been taught more of that...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2018 @ 12:51pm

    So the NHL is going to "ban" stuff the players do a lot and appear to be addicted to?

    Will this include raping underage girls, smuggling drugs and murder?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 10 Oct 2018 @ 2:50pm

    True fundamental Christianity goes the opposite way on that…

    …because we remember and understand why the bible says it
    would be better for those antichrists if a millstone had been
    hanged around their neck and then tossed into the sea.

    Never confuse those bigoted political zealots with real christianity.
    Jesus was never like Barabbas; though the Jews claimed it was so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Oct 2018 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re:

    It is the insane idea that they have to give their kids a better life than they had mixed with keeping up with the Kardashians.

    Their kids will never own a house unless they hit the lotto, because they will be carrying huge student loan debts for a degree that won't earn them enough to pay it off before retirement. They will make all of the debt traps, payday loans, leases, rent to own just to have the trappings of being a success. But hey once the student debt bubble bursts we'll all be screwed anyways.

    *my standard SF v McDonalds rant goes here*
    Happy Meal Toys made my kid fat, not my inability to say no!
    We need a law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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