About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

In this guide you will learn exactly how to beat your World of Warcraft addiction, including practical strategies and personal stories.

“If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

World of Warcraft was the best and worst time of my life.

It was the most fun I’ve ever had but I also became addicted to World of Warcraft and my life slowly crumbled around me.

With WoW Classic coming out I felt inspired to share my story in the hope that it brings peace to anyone out there who is struggling.

Watch: How I beat my World of Warcraft addiction:

My World of Warcraft Addiction

I started playing WoW when I was 18 years old. I had been a gamer for a long time but mostly played StarCraft and CounterStrike. At first I didn’t really like the game, but soon I fell in love.

At the time my life was a mess. I had dropped out of high school and after living with my girlfriend for a few months we broke up and I moved back in with my parents. I quit my job and suddenly had nothing but free time to play video games.

WoW was like a gift from the heavens.

I no longer worried about being depressed. I made new friends, developed new skills, and created a new sense of identity for myself. In WoW I was someone. I was respected, well-liked, and constantly felt a sense of progress and achievement.

Every day I woke up knowing what I needed to do in the game, and that all acted as a stark contrast to the real world where I had been bullied, rejected, and overall felt like I didn’t belong.

In WoW I found a new home.

When I think back to my time playing World of Warcraft there are so many fond memories. Almost every day I would wake up and play for the morning with my friend Kenna. She was a stay at home mom with a husband deployed overseas.

We played most of the time with our friends Daniel and Imman after they finished school or work for the day. We spent hours every day talking on vent, laughing and helping each other through life’s challenges.

WoW meant a lot to me and still does.

I remember Leroy Jenkins, and spending hours ganking guilds trying to raid Gruul. I remember the hours and hours and hours of grinding to get my flying mount. A friend had seen me grinding for a few days straight and spontaneously gave me the money for it. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and an act of kindness I’ll never forget.

I reached level 60 maybe a month before Burning Crusade was released and I’ll never forget the first day running off to explore a brand new world. It was like stepping off an airplane and you’re the only person on Mars.

I remember raiding Karazhan and defeating Prince Malchezaar. It was a time when a lot of the leadership techniques I learned playing hockey came in helpful.

Eventually I was recruited to a top ten guild in the world who was looking for a new Hunter. I was really excited about the opportunity.

That same weekend I took a bus for 15 hours to try and save my relationship but it didn’t work out. My dad drove through the night to pick me up and bring me safely back home.

This began the process of trying to turn my real life around and I decided to overcome my World of Warcraft addiction. It was hard on my friends and difficult to give up such a big opportunity with this new guild, but I knew if I didn’t quit my life would only continue to spiral out of control.

Is World of Warcraft Bad?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with playing video games. That said, World of Warcraft does have a number of game design features that will cause you to be more at-risk of developing a problem.

Research shows massive online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft are more addictive than offline single-player games.

One of the reasons why this happens is because the amount of time it takes to level up increases significantly over time, causing you to have to spend more and more hours to achieve the same experience of “leveling up”.

mmo leveling graph

Source: Dr. Daniel King, Internet Gaming Disorder

Ultimately it’s not about whether World of Warcraft is bad or not, it’s about what your relationship is like to gaming and whether or not you can play in moderation. Personally, I am unable to play a game like WoW in moderation so I need to avoid it.

WoW Addiction Test

How do you know if you are addicted to World of Warcraft or not? How do you know the difference between a gaming hobby and a gaming problem?

The American Psychiatric Association recommends a set of nine questions to screen for a video game addiction. You can find them in our test below:

WoW Addiction Test

The red flags you want to watch out for are:

Being irritable or moody when you can’t play
Constantly needing to play more and more (“it’s never enough”)
Losing interest in other activities (e.g. sports, exercise)
Being deceptive (e.g. stealing money to buy things in game)
Jeopardizing school, work, and/or relationships (in order to game)

If you are reading this and realizing your gaming may be a problem, then you want to follow the advice below. Don’t wait until your situation gets worse!

How to Beat World of Warcraft Addiction

victory

If you are like me and you struggle with a World of Warcraft addiction and you want to turn your life around, follow these steps:

Step 1: Commit to 90 Days

If you want to quit gaming the first thing you want to do is give yourself a break, and I recommend 90 days. You don’t have to decide to quit forever but you do need to experience what life is like without World of Warcraft.

You need to create a contrast in your life and also develop new habits.

At the end of the 90 days you can make a choice about whether you want to try gaming in moderation or if you want to continue to quit for good. I’ll leave that choice up to you but making that choice after having a 90 day break will give you a much better idea about what you should do.

Step 2: Find Replacement Activities

Next, you need to find new activities to replace gaming. World of Warcraft is a game that never ends. You can play for hours and hours and hours and still not even come close to completing every mission. That’s one of the reasons why it can be so addictive.

The key here is to avoid sitting around bored staring at the ceiling because this is when you will justify gaming. Being intentional with choosing new activities to do instead of gaming will make a big difference.

Find new goals and skills to develop, new ways to relax after school or work is done for the day, and new ways to make friends and socialize.

Related: 70+ New Hobby Ideas to Replace Gaming

Step 3: Schedule Your Day

World of Warcraft was your go-to activity whenever you had any free time, so now that you are going to quit you need to not only have new things to do, but you need to be more intentional with how you spend your time.

Use a daily calendar or an agenda to schedule your day – including your free time – so you always know what you are doing instead. Avoiding boredom is the key to your success.

I like to use the Pomodoro technique where I schedule one activity for 30-60 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute non-digital break, before going into my next activity.

Step 4: Navigate Cravings & Nostalgia

After you quit gaming you will experience urges and cravings to play. This is completely normal but it can also be frustrating. Try not to stress about them too much. They will come and go like the waves of the ocean.

If you are experiencing a craving, try and change your environment – ideally getting away from your temptations. Go for a walk outside, go to the gym, or call a friend. You don’t have to resist your cravings, you just need to identify that they are there, and let them pass on their own time.

Sometimes your cravings are just a form of nostalgia, and that’s definitely been the case for me with the release of WoW Classic.

It’s a desire to reminisce on my childhood, where I had no responsibilities and could spend months playing games without concern. But I’m in a different period of my life now and there’s no need to go back to play a game that I know causes problems in my life.

Ultimately that’s a choice you need to make for yourself. Identify what aspects of your life serve your highest potential and which ones don’t. No need to resist, simply let them go gracefully.

Step 5: Join a Support Group

World of Warcraft is a very social game and you may miss your friends and community when you quit. So join a support group and connect with other people on the same journey as you. Some options for that include:

You can also just talk to friends and family or a trusted friend to have them join you as an accountability partner.

Remember, you are not alone and there are thousands of other people just like you on this journey. There is no shame in asking for help and we are all in this together.

Bonus Tip: Build a New Identity

cam adair tanzania

Long-term you need to focus on building a new identity, especially if you have struggled in the real world with bullying or low self-esteem.

World of Warcraft and games like it give you an opportunity to create a new sense of identity and the more time you spend in that virtual world the less time you spend in the real world.

The frame of mind I like to think about here is that life is the ultimate video game and you are the character you get to build. So what skills do you want to develop? How do you want to feel about yourself? What goals do you want to achieve?

Personally that’s been about traveling the world, having my own business, making a positive impact, connecting with more friends and family, and just being the best person I can be.

It’s taken a long time, over ten years, to get to where I am today, but I tried to enjoy the journey as much as possible as well.

Last Word

You will go through a lot of ups and downs throughout your journey so take it one day at a time. Remember why you are doing what you are doing. Remember why it’s important for you to quit playing games. Keep going and never give up.

The thing I want to end on is if you’re reading this and you struggle with a World of Warcraft addiction, reach out for help. There’s no shame in it and you are not alone.

I hope my guide on World of Warcraft addiction has helped you and inspires you to keep pushing forward.

Your life is worth fighting for.

Ready to Quit Gaming?

Respawn is a step-by-step program to help you quit gaming and get your life back on track. It contains the latest scientific research and best practices.

  • Insanely Practical: No fluff. This guide is for action takers.
  • Module 1: Learn the fundamentals of quitting video games
  • Module 2: Breakthrough the psychology that keeps you gaming
  • Module 3: Build a new identity in the real world
  • Module 4: Avoid boredom by finding new activities and passions
  • Module 5: Stop wasting time on the internet and finally be productive
  • Module 6: Increase your energy and improve your mood
  • Module 7: Finally feel confident and proud of who you are
  • Module 8: Defeat relapse and other common mistakes
  • Bonus: Make new friends and avoid loneliness
  • Bonus: Worksheets, priority email support, community, and so much more.
  • Click here to gain instant access to our practical action guide to defeat video game addiction

“The best decision I have made in my life, honestly.”
– David

““I grew my YouTube channel to 432,700 subscribers. Trust me, doing a double backflip is cooler than getting an epic mount.”
– Gerard

“I have lost 40 pounds, become a model, and broke up with my fiancé.”
– Faris

“Got me a 4.0 in college after quitting games. No regrets and no fear.”
– Matt S.

world health organization gaming disorder logo The World Health Organization has confirmed Gaming Disorder in the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), to come into effect January 1st, 2022. 1 1. WHO: Gaming Disorder ×

This is a victory for people who struggle with gaming disorder, and improves their ability to receive affordable quality care.

What is Gaming Disorder?

Gaming Disorder is defined “as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”

The World Health Organization stated their decision to include gaming disorder was “based on reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions” and that “the inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programmes for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world.”

This Decision Helps Gaming Addicts:

This decision will have positive benefits for video game addicts. Here are five of them:

  1. Improved accessibility to professional services, including the potential for services to be covered by insurance. More professionals will specialize in gaming disorder.
  2. Improved quality control. Currently there is no standard protocol for mental health professionals to follow for prevention and treatment of gaming disorder. Quality care begins with an official diagnosis and means of assessment.
  3. Reduced stigma and moral panic. Research shows stigma – the fear of being judged, dismissed, or misunderstood – to be the biggest barrier to gaming addicts seeking help.

gaming disorder stigma

By confirming gaming disorder, WHO has validated the experiences of gaming addicts around the world. This encourages them to seek professional support, and reassure them that their concerns will not be dismissed when they do. Professionals will be better trained on how to assess and treat this issue.

This decision is also good for healthy gamers. No longer is it possible to suggest that someone has a video game addiction based on your own subjective reasoning. Instead, we have a diagnostic criteria rooted in evidence. Those concerned about someone’s gaming can trust a professional assessment.

Finally, this decision encourages researchers and mental health professionals to divert resources stuck in the debate about whether video game addiction is “real” or not, and instead invest them in finding effective treatment protocols, prevention models, comorbidity factors, and more.

To recognize gaming disorder is not to take any legitimacy away from other mental health conditions. It only furthers the important message that if you are someone who is struggling, seek help. And when you do, we will have the best evidence-based support available.

My Personal Gaming Addiction

This decision has been a long-time coming. I began sharing my story about gaming addiction 7 years ago, and for the most part, I was speaking into a void. It was a lonely road at times, but one where I constantly heard from thousands of fellow gaming addicts around the world that my work mattered and was helpful to them.

Today I’m so proud to share this victory with you all. It’s an important milestone, and one I know will help so many people around the world.

This decision doesn’t change our work at all. I will continue to wake up every day and fight for the rights of gaming addicts worldwide. I will continue to use my voice and platform to share their stories, and use my gifts to improve the quality of care.

Thank you to those who have believed in me and supported our efforts over the last 7 years.

– Cam Adair
Founder of Game Quitters

Are video game addiction rehabs just an excuse for bad parenting?

Kids are addicted to video games and parents are to blame. This has been the public consensus to viral stories of parents struggling to regain control over their kids’ gaming.

But is it true? Is video game addiction a parenting problem? Are video game rehabs just an excuse for bad parenting? No. Addiction is far more complex than that.

It’s Not Bad Parenting

Recently Bloomberg reported the story of Debbie Vitany, a caring mother who is losing her 17-year-old son, Carson, to Fortnite — the current hottest (and most addictive) game in the world. I know this story well, as I struggled with my own addiction to video games for 10 years. My addiction brought me to the verge of suicide.

Since sharing my story of recovery seven years ago I have heard from thousands of people asking for help. And they aren’t only parents. 60% are adult gamers, unable to stop, and struggling to complete college or gain employment 1 1. King & Adair (2018). Clinical predictors of gaming abstinence in help-seeking adult problematic gamers. Psychiatry Research. × .

But can’t parents just take the games away? Turn off the wifi? Smash the Xbox? Sure, in some cases, but in others, this advice could be outright dangerous. Al Spencer is a caring mother who pulled the plug on her gaming addicted 17-year-old, and he responded by taking a fatal overdose. Thankfully after four days in the ICU, he pulled through.

Parents Are Struggling

While on tour in Australia last year I heard the heartbreaking story of my Uber driver. His 27-year-old son physically attacked him after he removed wifi access, causing him to fear for his life. So why doesn’t he just kick him out of the house? Because he figures his son will end up in jail. When it’s not your son it’s easy to say what you would do in that situation.

Michelle’s son refuses to go to school ‘due to headaches’ if he does not have unlimited gaming time. Of course when he has access he also refuses to go to school because he’s gaming all day. It’s illegal to not go to school in California where they reside, and her son has already had his first court date, leaving this family with the terrible choice of either allowing him to go down the path of the judicial system, or taking a second mortgage out on their home to send him to therapeutic boarding school.

Video game addiction is not a parenting problem. It is a mental health condition and public health issue. The World Health Organization has confirmed as much by adding ‘Gaming Disorder’ to the upcoming ICD-11, due out this year.

When Britta Hodge courageously shared the story of her son Logan’s gaming addiction on 60 Minutes, she was met with intense backlash, and a petition was started to physically remove Logan from her care. Meanwhile, over 500 parents joined her Online Gaming Addiction Facebook group to ask for help. The overwhelming sentiment by new members was how relieved they were to discover they were not alone.

Stop Blaming Parents

Blaming and shaming are not helpful. They are harmful. Stigma—the fear of being judged, dismissed, or misunderstood—is the largest barrier to people seeking help for their mental health. We should be encouraging parents who are struggling with addiction challenges to find professional support, not judging their parenting styles from the comforts of our peaceful home.

Kids are becoming addicted to video games because video games are specifically designed to be addictive, not because parents allow them to play too much. Where is the call for gaming companies to be held accountable for their role in creating this crisis?

Recent innovations such as loot boxes, a type of ‘mystery box’ where a player spends real-world money for the chance to win virtual goods – which research finds is psychologically similar to gambling 2 2. Drummond & Sauer (2018). Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling. Nature. × – has caused governments in Belgium and the Netherlands to take action, and the FTC has vowed to launch an investigation of their own.

Learning to parent in this digital age is crucial, and we need to provide better tools and resources to support parents in this process. Books such as Jordan Shapiro’s The New Childhood, Reset Your Child’s Brain by Victoria Dunkley, and Anya Kamenetz’s The Art of Screen Time, are steps in the right direction.

We need more public awareness campaigns, better training and screening tools for professionals, and for extreme cases — detox summer camps and rehab centers. But attacking parents who are brave enough to come forward must stop.

Prince Harry wants to ban Fortnite. But is that a good idea?

Fortnite is (still) the hottest game in the world. It has over 250 million players, and earned over $2.4 billion dollars in revenue in 2018.

Yet it’s tearing some families apart with Fortnite addiction issues. Should we ban it?

My thoughts:

Should We Ban Fornite?

As much as I love helping people overcome their video game addiction, and have a huge amount of sympathy for those that are struggling, I don’t think banning games is the way to go.

Gaming, social media, and the internet are here to stay.

We need to learn how to be responsible with these technologies, and learning how to maintain a healthy and enjoyable relationship with them is crucial.

Although I don’t think we should ban Fortnite, I believe that we should hold gaming companies more responsible.

As of right now, the gaming industry are free to create games that target and exploit a very particular subset of the population.

What’s the Issue?

You have to remember that the majority of gamers have no issues at all with addiction.

They’re able to manage their time effectively, and don’t forgo responsibilities to play games.

However, for a large number of people, gaming is a problem.

An increasing number of video games contain systems that cause them to be extremely addictive, as well as making gambling freely accessible to young children.

These systems allow video games to become extremely problematic for those that struggle with addiction, and don’t have the support in place to deal with it.

What Can We Do?

First and foremost, we need to make people more aware of the effects of gaming on themselves and their children.

For parents that means learning about the games that their children play, knowing the mechanics behind addiction, and understanding how to deal with video game addiction.

This can only happen if we work towards building public awareness of the gaming industry, and making this issue more well-known.

While this sounds great in theory, the video gaming industry is now worth over $140 billion dollars, making them a formidable opponent to putting regulations in place.

Having people like Prince Harry and Dr. Amir Khan going viral in the media is an incredible boost for the cause, but it doesn’t make a difference if people do nothing.

That’s why a lot of our work at Game Quitters is centered on getting the word out there.

We need to let people know that this is an issue happening right now, and it’s effecting millions of people over the globe.

Still Struggling with Fortnite?

Read our parents guide on Fortnite addiction

Additional reading: Fortnite: Is Prince Harry right to want game banned?

Worried? Take a short quiz on Apex Legends Addiction

Apex Legends is the new game in town.

After the phenomenal success of Fortnite, video game companies wanted to get in on their share of the action. Unsurprisingly, Electronic Arts (EA) was at the forefront of this emerging market.

EA are no strangers to creating highly addictive, and financially lucrative, video games. They’re one of the largest gaming companies in the world, making over $5 billion in 2018. 1 1. Electronic Arts Made $5.1 Billion in Revenue in 2018 × As a result, they have both the time and the resources to create something that keeps players hooked (and spending money).

Within two weeks of Apex Legends being released EA had already amassed 50 million players. 2 2. Apex Legends tops 50M players in first month × , making it one of the fastest growing games in history.

Is Apex Legends addiction something that you need to worry about?

What is Apex Legends?

Apex Legends is a Battle Royale shooter game aimed (no pun intended) towards a more mature audience than Fortnite.

It is free-to-play (with in-game purchases)and rated 13+ in the US, and 16+ in the UK and Europe for its “sustained depictions of violence towards human characters”.

The game is played in rounds (while the game is being played you cannot pause it without the potential of losing). Teams of three players battle 57 others to be the last ones standing.

Because the game is “free-to-play”, the business model depends on players spending as much money as possible through in-game purchases 3 3. Everything You Need to Know About Apex Legends In-Game Currencies × .

You can spend anywhere from $10-$40 at a time, with the majority of the items costing $11. Meaning you’d need to purchase the $19.99 option to be able to afford something useful. Not only that, but the items you can obtain through gameplay become increasingly frustrating to acquire as you rise through the ranks in-game.

The systems in place make Apex Legends a lucrative sales funnel, and players with certain addictive tendencies towards gambling could end up losing a lot of money.

Warning Signs of Apex Legends Addiction

Video game addiction is officially recognized by the World Health Organization. The three biggest warning signs to look out for are:

  1. Impaired control: Your gamer is struggling to limit or manage their time.
  2. Loss of interest in other activities: Your gamer’s life revolves around gaming and they may be neglecting normal life responsibilities.
  3. Continuing to play despite negative impact: Are their grades dropping? Are they struggling to gain or maintain employment? Is gaming having an impact on their relationships?

These are the three biggest warning signs for Apex Legends addiction, and there are others as well. To find out the severity of your problem, take our quiz:

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Parents.

Practical Tips and Strategies

As a parent, you need to control the problem now before it gets worse. Here are a few practical steps you want to take now:

First, you need to begin reducing gaming. Your target is to two hours or less a day, and ideally, not every day. One strategy is to use “game-free” days as a way to earn “game days.” Many parents of adolescents have found it helpful to have no gaming Monday to Thursday and then limited gaming on the weekends.

Next, you want to balance out gaming with multiple activities. Your target here is to keep gaming from being their single focus and only outlet to de-stress, socialize, and feel a sense of achievement. Integrate activities like exercise (sports), time in nature where possible, and in-person face-to-face interactions.

Finally, you want to rebuild the family structure. Have dinners together as a family (without technology), and schedule activities together on the weekends. Whether your gamer is an “addict” or not, stop calling them one! It only creates more conflict and hurts rapport.

Follow these three strategies and you will be able to start turning your son’s Apex Legends addiction around. For a full guide on how to help your loved one overcome their video game addiction, purchase a copy of Reclaim.

I have been gaming since I was 8 years old, and I can’t remember a time in my life where the first thing I did when I got home wasn’t sitting down at my computer and playing a game. It has been 64 days since I deleted steam from my computer and 20 days since I dismantled my PC.

Over 10 years of gaming I played with the same friend every weekend, joined many large communities, and also developed great friendships with other random people I’ve encountered. I’ve spent at least 10,000 hours on a Skype/Discord call, and at least 15,000 hours playing games.

You would think that someone so “addicted” would have such a hard time quitting, but it was probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever done.

So many people classified me as a gaming addict, but I wholeheartedly disagree still to this day. The problem was I didn’t have anything else to replace my time with. People would say “study more, or play a sport” – sure, but if I’m getting home at 4pm, and I study for a few extra hours, I’d still be playing at least 3-4 hours a night if I’m going to bed at midnight.

Over my life I averaged between 40-60 hours gaming per week. Some days I gamed 16 hours a day on the weekend, and particularly during holidays.

Since quitting, I’ve started multiple e-commerce businesses, made huge fitness gains, and been heaps more social. Rarely I might get a small urge to play a game, but honestly it’s rather insignificant.

Should You Quit Gaming?

thailand market

Quitting gaming is a rather extreme approach for any normal person to take, but it really depends on the person. Throughout my time gaming I developed a range of skills that are beneficial and applicable to my real life, and met many extraordinary people that have given me great life advice.

The skills you develop from gaming will depend on what type of games you play. I spent a large amount of time playing MMORPG games, where I was able to build a respectable degree of wealth. I learned the concept of risk vs. reward, and developed negotiation skills. On a holiday in Phuket, Thailand I found myself saving large amounts of money by using negotiation techniques I had learned from games.

Learning how to study a market and all the possible ways to earn wealth, then making a plan utilising them is a skill that can be applied to many forms of business. This has been particularly useful for me in creating an investment plan and budgeting real money. I also learned how gambling is not worth the risk no matter the wager, and that other forms of risk are much more worth taking.

In many of the games I played I found myself connecting with much more experienced players, and I noticed how their wisdom was able to quickly progress my development in the game. This has benefited me in the real world, as I have been going to venues and public events trying to expand my network of people who can assist me and advise me with my business.

I Don’t Regret Gaming

friends in joshua tree

It made me who I am today – it’s just time for me to move on and explore new avenues of living.

I’m not going to tell anyone to quit, but I will say this: If you are considering stopping gaming, do it because you want to, not because other people want you to. If you don’t actually want to quit, then you will simply be another example of a relapsing drug addict. The only drug addicts that successfully quit are the ones who want to do so in the first place.

I’m putting this out there because I just wanted share my experience quitting gaming. I will be returning to gaming for a short period of time when Skyrim 6 is released, but then after completion I’ll remove it. I do believe that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of your passions and joys, but when it begins to negatively impact the quality of your life, that’s when it becomes a problem.

My only advice would be to set real, achievable goals to work towards that consume most of your day. That has been the biggest tool for my success.

Thanks to everyone who read my story. Good luck to anyone on this journey with me!

Join our Movement

SHARE this story to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

cam adair game quitters

Game Quitters 2.0 introduces new interactive features and tools that allow you to take your video game addiction recovery to the next level. Want to see how? Read on.

Game Quitters Logo

Game Quitters exists to provide the best tools, resources, and peer support for people struggling with a video game addiction. Today we are proud to announce a major upgrade to our platform to help us do just that.

When I wrote our first blog post back in 2011 on ‘How to Quit Playing Video Games FOREVER’ I never imagined we would end up as the face of a global movement against video game addiction. I never imagined that one blog post on a personal development blog would launch an international platform serving over 50,000 people each month representing 94 countries. But here we are.

We take this responsibility seriously and as our platform has grown in numbers, so too has the need for it to grow in service. For the past few months I have been working tirelessly with a small team to bring you Game Quitters 2.0, transforming our mostly content-based site into an interactive recovery platform.

Let’s see what’s new in Game Quitters 2.0

A Vision For the Future: New Game Quitters Branding

Game Quitters Logo

When we first launched Game Quitters our focus was on providing gamers with the resources they needed to overcome their video game addiction, and our brand goals were to be relatable, cool, and fun, while representing a community you could be proud of.

Since then we have grown from a few blog posts and YouTube videos serving gamers, to international speaking tours, professional development trainings for therapists and mental health professionals, and advising public policy with government officials. It was time for our brand to reflect it.

So I reached out to the best Art Director I know, Derek Heisler, and asked him if he would help me re-envision the Game Quitters’ identity, expressing both the brand we are today and the vision we have for the future. He nailed it.

Game Quitters Branding

(To see the full new brand identity, click here)

I can’t express how grateful I am to Derek. Not only is he a world class talent, but he’s a world class friend who has had my back in all ways, personally and professionally.

To Derek, thank you for your tireless work on this project, your attention to detail, and going all-in with me. For anyone looking to upgrade their brand, photography, or overall art direction, I can’t recommend Derek enough.

New Tool: Find Inspiring Stories of Fellow Video Game Addicts

gaming addiction stories

One of the most powerful ways we can spread awareness about video game addiction is by sharing our collective stories of struggle and redemption. We are the best advocates of the issue, because we have gone through it. We know the devastating impact it can have, not only to ourselves but those around us.

By sharing your story you can inspire others to take action and get the help they need.

I’ve made it a personal mission to collect as many real stories as possible of gaming addiction and today we have over 60 of them published on the website, along with over 30,000 journal entries from members on the forum.

With so many stories already published (and more coming every day), we wanted to make it easier to find ones that would connect with you the most. So we worked with Alex from MD to build a new page layout and interactive tool to filter the stories.

You can now select stories that are written by those who have quit for under 30 days, 90+ Days, or 6+ months. You can also find stories written by those under 18 years of age, 18-30 and over 30. We hope to add more filters in the future.

I am on a mission to compile over 1,000 stories of gaming addicts. Want to help us achieve this goal?

Are You Addicted to Gaming? Screen Your Situation With Our Quizzes

How do you know if you (or a loved one) have a video game addiction? What is the difference between a gaming passion and a gaming addiction? How severe is your situation? Find your answers with our new quizzes!

Both the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have provided evidence-based criteria to discern what a video game addiction is (or is not). For the APA they have a proposed set of nine criteria in the DSM-5 called Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD), and the WHO have an official diagnostic criteria of three-items called Gaming Disorder (GD).

We took both of these into consideration, along with a recent published study of recommended improvements by Dr. Daniel King to create our video game addiction quiz for gamers and parents. These are informal screening tools with the intention of supporting you in better understanding the severity of your situation. For a proper assessment we recommend to seek the help of a professional.

One More Thing: New Hobby Tool

Game Quitters Finding New Hobby Tool

Since the beginning of Game Quitters, the number one question we receive from gaming addicts when they want to quit is “what else will I do with my time?” To help them find replacement activities we have traditionally provided a PDF list of 60+ new hobby ideas, categorized by activities that are active, relaxing, social, and achievement-based.

Although gaming addicts have shared that this list has been helpful, we wanted to improve it by turning it into an interactive tool. Now you can find new hobbies that meet your chosen criteria. Want activities that help with being active? Achievement-based? Relaxing? Social? Mentally engaging? Creative? Looking for activities that are free, low cost (under $100), or able to be done at home? Want offline activities? Something easy to start? Or one of my personal favorites?

Now you can! Select the filters you would like and instantly find new activity ideas. Each activity comes with a description and a list of resources to help you get started.

Other Improvements, Bug Fixes, and Design Tweaks in GQ 2.0

New

  • HTTPS: Improved security for the website.
  • /Open: We are now an Open Startup™, which means “operating with full transparency by sharing its metrics, including revenue, users, and traffic.”
  • /Team: Want to meet the team behind Game Quitters?
  • Emergency Button: On the verge of a relapse? Find our quick resources on this page.

Special thank you: Derek, Kevin Kulik, Alex, Emmanuel, Pieter Levels, WIP, our amazing community, and Board of Advisors for all of your help! Here’s to the next chapter.

Are we losing men to gaming and porn addiction?

TLDR;

At least 50% of men play video games and watch porn frequently.

Gaming and porn addiction are leading to a masculinity crisis in men.

541,000 people in Japan are isolated in their rooms for months of years without relationships.

Men are increasingly anxious, depressed, and struggling with suicide 1 1. CDC: Suicide rates are up 30 percent since 1999 × . They are dropping out of school and opting out of the workforce, instead choosing to live in a virtual world playing video games and watching porn. A masculinity crisis is on our hands.

Growing up as a boy is hard. You experience bullying at school and rejection by girls, leading to hurt and heartbreak. 1 in 3 boys grow up without a father, and for those of us lucky enough to have one, we only spend 30 minutes a week in conversation with them, compared to 44 hours we will spend in front of a screen 2 2. TED: Phillip Zimbardo on The Demise of Guys × . Without the tools and guidance to navigate our painful emotional states, we resort to escape.

Escaping into Gaming and Porn

“When life sucks you might as well stay in your room and live your life there.”

In Japan, a 2016 study found at least 541,000 people suffer from hikkomori 3 3. Hikikomori: The Japanese Cabinet Office’s 2016 Survey of Acute Social Withdrawal × , a phenomenon of social withdrawal in which the individual remains isolated in their room for months or years without social relationships. What are they doing while they are isolated in their rooms? Watching porn and playing video games.

At least 50% of men are playing video games and watching porn frequently. On April 14th when servers for the popular game Fortnite crashed for 24 hours, Pornhub (the most popular website for pornographic content) experienced a 10% surge in traffic from gamers, with searches for videos using the key term “Fortnite” increasing by 60% 4 4. Does “forced abstinence” from gaming lead to pornography use? Insight from the April 2018 crash of Fortnite’s servers × . When gamers were unable to game, they resorted to watching porn instead.

“I was addicted to gaming and porn because I was addicted to escapism.” -Paolo

We play games and watch porn to escape and fulfill our emotional needs. To feel a sense of achievement, we play games. To feel a sense of connection, we watch porn. For all the rest of our time, we mindlessly browse the internet as tech addicted zombies. Gaming, porn, and the internet provide a safe space. There is little-to-no risk of rejection, and we have more control over our experience.

“Pornography promises orgasm without intimacy. Video warfare promises adrenaline without danger. The arousal that makes these so attractive is ultimately spiritual to the core.” -Russell Moore

Gaming and Porn Addiction Change the Brain

Real life is boring, while gaming and porn are exciting. They require a low amount of effort for a consistent stream of different rewards, and this provides us with a rapid release of dopamine — our brain’s pleasure chemical. Research finds the more we are overexposed to this type of artificial digital stimulation, the more our brains rewire to not only expect it, but crave it.

The more you game, the more you want to game, the more your brain wants to game, so the more you game, and then you experience structural brain changes. There are three of them: numbed pleasure response — every day activities no longer satisfy you, hyper-reactivity to gaming — gaming is really exciting and everything else is boring, and willpower erosion — even if you wanted to quit you would struggle to have the willpower anyways due to changes to your prefrontal cortex. The same process works with porn addiction.

How to Overcome Gaming and Porn Addiction

To reverse these structural brain changes, research shows it requires a 90 day detox from gaming and porn. This means not playing video games or watching porn for a period of 90 days. Think of it as an experiment to learn more about yourself and your relationships to gaming and porn.

At the end of the detox you might want to try to play in moderation, or you may want to continue to quit forever, but you will be making that choice from an informed place about the impact gaming and porn addiction have in your life.

Block Access

To make the detox easier, block access to problematic apps, games, and websites using an app like Focus.Me. Delete Instagram off your phone, uninstall Steam, and block YouTube. The harder you make it to regain access, the less tempted you will be to relapse.

Beware: Addiction Swapping

Behavioral addictions are compulsive disorders driven by a desire to fulfill emotional needs we have. Often, that need can be to escape from stress, or simply boredom. Compulsive behavior comes from a lack of awareness so in order to combat it, you want to add more awareness and intention into your life.

Why are you doing what you are doing? How are you dealing with stress without gaming or porn? What else can you do to fulfill a desire for competition? Intentionally choose new replacements.

Navigate Withdrawal Symptoms

During your 90 day detox it’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings and urges, mood swings, irritability, feelings of apathy, headaches, and lethargy, amongst others.

It’s crucial that you watch out for potential triggers, and be mindful of cravings and urges to play games or watch porn. It’s normal to experience these symptoms, especially early on, so don’t sweat it. Learn to dance with your emotions.

Join a Support Community

Finally, join a support community. Whether that is Game Quitters, Reddit communities such as StopGaming and NoFap, or a 12-step group like CGAA or Porn Addicts Anonymous, being surrounded by others on a similar journey as you is proven to be helpful for you to succeed in your recovery.

It’s easier than ever to find yourself isolated in your room playing video games and watching porn. But what’s the impact that is having on your life? Is it making you happy, or are you simply entertained for a moment? Are you engaged in pursuing your goals, or avoiding responsibilities through escapism? With all of the temptations that exist in our world today it’s never been more important for men to be leaders, living their lives with passion and purpose.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

48% of gamers say they spend more time watching gaming videos on YouTube than playing games.

TLDR;

Gamers spend just as much watching other gamers play as they do actually playing video games themselves.

Twitch and YouTube Gaming are the two most popular live-streaming platforms.

Professional streamers can earn millions of dollars a year.

Gamers are no longer people who only play video games, and they spend just as much time, if not more, watching other gamers play on websites like Twitch and YouTube.

To many this may come as a surprise, but to gamers it has been a natural evolution, and speaks not only to the underlying reasons why people love video games, but how they are managing to turn their passion into a legitimate career.

Gaming Hits the Mainstream

On March 14th top recording artist, Drake, played Fortnite with one of the gaming world’s top live-streamers, “Ninja”, to a record 600,000 concurrent viewers. Pittsburgh Steeler’s receiver JuJu-Smith Schuster and rapper Travis Scott also made guest appearances, as Ninja reportedly gained more than 90,000 subscribers, worth roughly $250,000 a month in revenue.

Ninja, who’s real name is Tyler Blevins, is one of the best Fortnite players in the world and regularly plays for 12 hours a day while broadcasting live on Twitch, while other gamers watch his every move. Ninja is one of 2.2 million people who broadcast live on the Twitch platform each month, making it the largest website for video game streaming 1 1. Streamlabs Livestreaming Q4 Report: Tipping reaches $100M for the year; YouTube Dominates in Streamer Growth, increasing by 343% as Twitch rises 197% in 2017 × .

The market is so large that Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for $970 million dollars 2 2. Amazon's $970 million purchase of Twitch makes so much sense now: It's all about the cloud × . The website reports 15 million daily active users, with 355 billion minutes watched in 2017 3 3. Twitch: 2017 Year in Review × . Live-streaming has rocketed gaming into the number one topic on YouTube, which hosts its own competitor, YouTube Gaming.

Why Gamers Love to Watch Other Gamers Play

To understand live-streaming you must first understand that gaming is as much a sense of community as it is to play video games. It’s where gamers feel like they belong. Where they feel understood. Streaming takes that to another level providing not only a community to belong to (ex: fans of Ninja, fans of Fortnite), but a live social experience as well.

For many broadcasters, the game they are playing is just the activity happening in the background, but while they play they are engaged in commentary and interaction with their fans. It’s the same psychology that has driven the social media era with apps like Instagram and Twitter, and why millions of viewers tuned in each week to watch ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, the reality show that propelled the Kardashian’s to superstardom. Fans want to experience the behind-the-scenes, they want to engage, and be a part of the experience. Live-streaming on Twitch and YouTube does all of that… and more.

Watching other gamers play is fun and passive entertainment. We all have a desire to relax and watching streams is no different than watching the NFL, or tuning into The Handmaid’s Tale on Wednesday nights. We each have our preference and for gamers, gaming is that.

Finally, a gamer might also watch to learn and improve, as many streamers are professional eSports players and very skilled. You can discover new strategies and tactics by watching them play, and that in turn can help you succeed as you strive to become a pro gamer yourself.

Watch: Why I Quit Professional Gaming

Can You Make Money As a Streamer?

With millions of broadcasters worldwide, has streaming become a legitimate career choice? That answer is more complex than you think.

Although streamers like Ninja, Nightblue3, Lirik, summit1g, Imaqtpie, Phantomlord, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, PewDiePie and others make millions of dollars, the average streamer will make very little as competition for subscribers is fierce, and it takes years of dedication to build up a fanbase. Are you willing to dedicate yourself to this full-time for years for the slight chance you might make it? I won’t be the judge of that, but you have to know the odds.

If you did want to pursue becoming a professional Twitch streamer, there are a variety of ways to earn income, including from subscriptions, Twitch bits, donations, affiliate marketing, partnerships, sponsorships, and personalized merchandise, amongst others. On YouTube you can also earn money from advertising revenue. Although being a professional streamer on Twitch or YouTube is now possible, it should only be pursued with immense caution and focus.

Regardless of the difficulty in becoming a pro streamer, gaming is no longer just about the act of playing video games, it’s about the industry at large. From professional gaming (eSports), to live-streaming, to festivals and cosplays, gaming continues to expand quickly, entering the mainstream, and is on the cusp of taking over the world.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.