Gamer Sues NCsoft Over Video Game Addiction


Video game addiction has been compared to compulsive gambling as both may stem from a clinical impulse control disorder. Casinos warn players to watch for signs of compulsive gambling, but video games often don’t.

A federal judge is allowing a negligence lawsuit filed by Craig Smallwood against NCsoft to proceed. Smallwood alleges he became so addicted to the online virtual-world game Lineage II that he is “unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.”

Smallwood is reported to by to claim he would not have begun playing the NCsoft game Lineage II if he was aware of how addicting the game is. He claims to have played Lineage II for 20,000 hours between 2004 and 2009.

Lineage II was released in 2003 as a sequel to the original Lineage game, is an immersion 3-D MMORPG.


U.S. District Judge Alan Kay refused to dismiss parts of Smallwood’s complaint this month, possibly clearing the way for a trial. ”In light of plaintiff’s allegations, the court finds that plaintiff has stated a claim for both negligence and gross negligence.”

More than 80% of the world can play games safely without worry of addiction. According to the Center for On-Line Addiction, warning signs for video game addiction include:

  1. Playing for increasing amounts of time
  2. Thinking about gaming during other activities
  3. Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety, or depression
  4. Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
  5. Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming

Video game addicts tend to become isolated, dropping out of their social networks and giving up other hobbies. If you have a friend or family member who completely withdrawals from other activities, then you should intervene and get them help.

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Center for On-Line Addiction