Gaming Addiction Centre Chief: "Compulsive Gaming Is Not Addiction"


Keith Bakker is the founder of one of the most popular gaming addiction rehab centres in the world – the Smith & Jones Centre in Holland. They were the first facility in the world to admit patients for addiction to games, and they’ve been in the headlines lately following a few cases of people playing a little too much of the new WoW expansion.

Last year, Keith said “I believe gaming is currently the greatest threat to our society”, which is a hell of a statement. However, he’s recently made somewhat of a U-turn in his opinions. He now says that 90% of the kids he sees are actually addicts – they just need better social care, which is exactly what I said the other day.

Wrath of the Lich King event was "biggest HMV has ever seen"

If there was any more proof needed that World of Warcraft fans are a force to be reckoned with, then last night was it. Somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 fans (there was no official headcount) crammed into HMV Oxford Street last night after the midnight opening. It’s the single biggest entertainment launch in UK history, beating the previous record holder (the previous WoW expansion!) by nearly 1,000.

People dressed up, as you’ll see over the jump, and Blizzard helped too, with a large chap dressed as Arthas the Lich King. There was an ice sculpture of the WoW logo, and senior execs from Blizzard and Activision showed up too. Best of all was the HMV logo over the shop door, which featured a Murloc instead of the usual dog.

Vivendi and Activision merger is official; bow to your new gaming overlord, Activision Blizzard


Following shareholder consent and a nod of approval from the European Commission, the planned merger between video games publishers Activision and Vivendi is now go. The new corporate behemoth is going by the name Activision Blizzard, chosen for Vivendi’s Blizzard Entertainment subsidiary which is responsible for a little indie outfit called World of Warcraft.

German virus attacking UK World of Warcraft and Counterstrike players – is this WWIII?


This morning I spoke with a French hacker-turned do-gooder, Jacques Erasmus, who uses his extraordinary knowledge over at online security company Prevx. According to Erasmus, a virus was created last Wednesday which is targeting gamers on World of Warcraft and Counterstrike.

Created in Germany, the worm is spread on MSN Messenger, where a spam message directing users to an infected site is sent out to a user’s complete contact list, in turn automatically sending itself to all of their contacts as well.

The worm then searches through the user’s hard drive, searching for log-in details to World of Warcraft and Counterstrike, as well as PayPal and Barclays Bank amongst others. The information is then uploaded to an FTP site, where the hackers can view all the details, as well as anyone else clever enough to gain entrance, such as Erasmus, who viewed hundreds of people’s details…

New contender to the MMO throne: Age of Conan gears up for a massive launch


Veteran MMO developers Funcom are about to launch their most ambitious online world to date, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. It’s already off to a good start -800,000 fans have actually ticked the ‘Yes, I would like to be bombarded with junk mail’ box (so did I, actually) and have signed up to the newsletter, and over 1 million players have reportedly signed up to the open beta phase…

World of Warcraft Dark Portal laser-etched MacBook Pro


I’m slightly speechless. Part of me doesn’t want to ridicule anyone for their past times, hobbies, fascinations but part of me wants to yell, “GEEK!”

I’ve never WoWed and for a very good reason – I know I’d love it. I’m a sucker for RPGs and MMORPGs, well just forget about it. You’d never see me again. Dust. I’d turn into some pallid crisp of a man, reduced to a pair of eyeballs and a mouse-clicking finger.

So, I really appreciate the effort gone into this WoW MacBook Pro Dark Portal etching…