Game Quitters began with the vision of creating the ultimate platform for someone who struggles to quit playing video games.
To do this, we would provide the best tools, resources, and support for people of all ages and backgrounds, to get the help they need, and the help they deserve.
Our vision from day one has been for this to be a fully integrated experience — not only on the platform itself, but within the business model as well.
The Founding Story
Game Quitters was an initiative that took many years to come to fruition. It began in 2011 when Cam released his article on How to Quit Playing Video Games FOREVER, and continued in 2013 when he spoke on stage at TEDxBoulder about Escaping Video Game Addiction.
Throughout each of these years, he received thousands of comments from fellow gamers who shared their own story of the struggle they went through to overcome this issue in their lives. These interactions with fellow gamers would continue until the end of 2014 when he realized he needed to do more.
We needed to do more.
So we launched Game Quitters with the vision to provide the best tools, resources, and support for any person who wants to quit playing video games — regardless of why they may want to do so, and we would provide this opportunity, for free.
The Journey Begins
In 2015, our mission was to build infrastructure; the foundation of our platform.
We began by launching our YouTube channel to provide free educational content for all; then we built our website, curated a structured and affordable online recovery program, and added a free community forum for members to interact and share their journeys together.
Free educational content
Affordable Online Program
Free Community Membership
Theme of 2016: Growth
Now that we had the infrastructure setup, it was time to reach out to gamers around the world who struggled in silence. Based on our calculations, research suggests 10–50 million gaming addicts worldwide. Today we are reaching upwards of 20,000. It’s a start, but it’s not good enough, and our community must do more.
Focusing on growth also meant taking steps to fill gaps that exist in the academic literature. By leveraging the power of our community — those who identify with compulsive gaming or video game addiction challenges — we are able to facilitate research on those who actually struggle with this issue, and bring more legitimate credibility to our cause.
An incredible partnership with Dr. Daniel King and The University of Adelaide that we announced earlier this year is a major step in that direction.
Changing the Conversation
Growth also means changing the conversation in the media about video game addiction. Until now, that conversation has been a debate about whether video games are good or bad, whether you should play video games or not.
Further, the conversation revolved around the fact that video game addiction was not real. The every day experiences of our members says otherwise, but it is up to us to share the real story behind video game addiction with the world.
This year we have formed important relationships in the media, with interviews by VICE Broadly, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and CBC Radio One; the time has come for our message to get out to the world.
This year we have also secured opportunities to speak in front of larger audiences, including at problem gambling conferences such as Discovery 2016 in Toronto, Canada, and the 10th Annual Nevada State Conference on Problem Gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cam has also been signed to CAMPUSPEAK — a higher education speaking agency with a mission to bring the message of video game addiction to college campuses around the world in the coming years.
Video game addiction is a major obstacle to student academic success and retention.
A Pew study 1 1. Pew: Let the games begin: Gaming technology and college students × showed 48% of student college gamers agree that gaming keeps them from studying. Another study 2 2. CAMH: The Mental Health and Well-Being of Ontario Students (Section 3.6, page 104) × in Ontario, Canada “found that 13% of participating students (equivalent to 122,660 youth in Ontario) reported symptoms of a video gaming problem, including preoccupation, loss of control, withdrawal and disregard for consequences. That’s up from nine per cent in 2007, the first year that problem video gaming was monitored.”
Reaching students in high school and college who may be struggling with a video game addiction is a major initiative of ours as we move forward. When at least 70% 3 3. Pew: Video Games Are Key Elements in Friendships for Many Boys × of youth play video games in 2016 (and rising), we believe there is a coming tsunami of problematic video game play in schools around the world.
Sharing Inspiring Stories
Finally, in 2016 we have reached members in at least 62 countries, including all six habitable continents. Our members have incredible stories, and we will feature as many of them as possible in Case Studies.
Although this movement began with the story of Cam, his story has always been one single representation of what so many of our members identify with. Our movement is about each of us, and each of our stories matter.
Soon we will be making a major announcement about a new project that will help us share our story with the world, and reach the people out there right now who are struggling in silence. (Hint: Yes, we have been working hard on the book.)
2017 and Beyond
As we look ahead to 2017 and beyond, integration will be a big theme.
The vision for our community has always been to create the ultimate platform for someone who wants to quit playing video games, and for this platform to be a fully integrated experience.
A fully integrated experience means when a member signs up they get personalized feedback and a seamless transition to the support they need. Personalized feedback is important because although many of our members struggle with similar patterns, video game addiction is more complex than that and our platform must be prepared accordingly.
For instance, if someone plays video games because it’s what they do to spend time with their friends, then we need to address that for them in specific ways; whereas for someone who plays because it’s a way to escape from anxiety or depression in their life, the solution for them may also be different.
It also means a fully integrated business model that is not only sustainable through profitable revenues by the community, but one that also gives back to that community.
We Exist “For Benefit”
Our vision has never been to be a “for-profit” corporation, nor has it been to be a “non-profit” charity. The problem with the former is pursuing profits at all costs. The problem with the latter is spending all of your energy fundraising, instead of doing the work you need to do to impact the people who need your support.
In the coming months, Game Quitters will be listed as a “For-Benefit” Corporation, meaning our business model will exist to not only make a profit (be independently sustainable), but also to make a difference — and this philosophy will be integrated into every way we operate as a business.
The specifics of how our business model will be integrated “For-Benefit” is still under discussion, but as an example, we love the TOMS one-for-one model. If you buy a pair of shoes, they give a pair of shoes. Game Quitters is not about selling shoes, but we are excited to explore how to integrate impact into our business model. Maybe that will look like X% of profits go into impact, or something else.
Impact will be fully integrated into every way we operate our business, and we will be legally accountable to it.
Our first project to give back as a community will happen in October 2016 when Game Quitters will team up with E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change) to build a clean water well in Tanzania, Africa. Our community will fundraise the necessary funds to provide this life-changing experience for a village that needs help.
Cam will be on the ground in Tanzania to help implement the well and monitor the project from start to finish. He will be recording YouTube videos throughout the trip.
Look for an announcement for this fundraising campaign soon.
A Moment of Gratitude
As our journey together continues to unfold, we just want to thank you for being a part of it. This movement is about each and every single one of us who struggle with compulsive gaming or a video game addiction. It’s about each of you reading this right now, and all members who will join us in the future.
It’s about every person out there in the world right now who struggles in silence, who wants support and simply does not realize it’s available.
This journey together will be long, and it will be hard. It will be fun, and it will not be easy. At times, we will fail. And we will always learn from it. We will push forward. We will persevere. We will work hard. We will never quit.
Because every person in the world who struggles to quit playing video games deserves support. And it’s up to our community to reach out to them.
Thanks for being on this journey with us.