Wednesday, August 10, 2005

S Korean dies after games session

A South Korean man has died after reportedly playing an online computer game for 50 hours with few breaks.

The 28-year-old man collapsed after playing the game Starcraft at an internet cafe in the city of Taegu, according to South Korean authorities.

The man had not slept properly, and had eaten very little during his marathon session, said police.

Online gaming in South Korea is extremely popular thanks to its fast and widespread broadband network.

Games are televised and professional players are treated, as well as paid, like sports stars.

Professional gamers there attract huge sums in sponsorship and can make more than $100,000 a year.

Growing problem

The man, identified by his family name, Lee, started playing Starcraft on 3 August. He only paused playing to go to the toilet and for short periods of sleep, said the police.

"We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official told the Reuters news agency.

He was taken to hospital following his collapse, but died shortly after, according to the police. It is not known whether he suffered from any previous health conditions.

They added that he had recently been fired from his job because he kept missing work to play computer games.

Small minority

Online computer games are some of the most popular and largest growth areas in interactive entertainment.

Players can easily get immersed and feel compelled to play for hours at a stretch, particuarly in massively multiplayer online role playing games - MMORPGs - in which thousands of gamers play and interact in shared fantasy or science fiction worlds.

Reports of gamers spending 10 to 15 hours a day in front of video games, such as the highly popular World of Warcraft and EverQuest, are becoming more frequent. Experts say gamers should take regular screen breaks.

Psychologist Professor Mark Griffiths, author of several in-depth studies into online gaming and gambling addiction, told the BBC News website that, according to his research, playing excessively was not problematic in any shape or form for the majority of gamers.
[...]

BBC

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