A roundtable discussion hosted by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) in Brussels titled “PC and videogames: friends or foes?” brought together consumers, publishers and developers of video games throughout the European Union to discuss the potential impact that video games have on players.
Participants including parents’ representatives heard a panel of independent experts, including psychologists and media specialists, express their views about the how video games affect underage players. Patrice Chazerand, secretary general of the ISFE, commented: “In light of such a thorough analysis of current issues and such a lively dialogue, we should not let this intellectual stimulation die out. ISFE will see to building upon this exchange and make it happen on a permanent or regular basis.”
The one-day seminar was broken into two separate discussions, each focused on a single side of the two-part issue. The morning session, titled “Are they foes?”, attempted to find out if the hazards generally associated with games are substantiated. The afternoon session, by contrast, tackled the topic of “Are they friends?”, and attempted to discuss the possible benefits associated with playing games, such as their use in schools or therapy (a topic often dealt with on Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source
A majority of ISFE-invited experts, drawn from major universities and research institutions throughout Europe, came down in favor of the positive aspects of video games, and pointed to the growing number of innovative applications in fields ranging from education, the treatment of behavioral problems with youngster, including attention deficit disorders, manned space exploration, and so on.
While none of the European experts noted that they would consider playing video games as an addictive pastime in itself, a consensus emerged as to the need for proper independent research, together with adequate education of parents, as to the nature of games.
These uniting steps from European trade software associations mirrors similar work
being done in the U.S. by the ESA, which recently noted that thirty-five percent of American parents say they play computer and video games, and among these “gamer parents”, 80% report that they play video games with their children, and two-thirds (66%) feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.