Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have found frequent users of the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga are more likely to become addicts.
In the Journal of Telematics and Informatics explored the psychological factors that contribute to mobile social game addictions. The purpose of the study was to explore the correlation between psychological factors, mobile game use and addiction. Researchers measured psychological factors such as loneliness, boredom, self control and in-game gratifications and compared it to how much time users spent playing Candy Crush Saga. Researchers gathered data from 409 respondents in China and found that 7.3 percent of Candy Crush Saga players in the study were considered as addicted to the mobile game.
In addition, researchers found that addicts were more likely to be characterized as lonely and motivated by the gameplay gratifications within the game. Users who had problems with self-control and were loneliness were more likely to become addicted to the mobile game. Researchers argue that boredom was also linked to the amount of time users spent playing Candy Crush Saga.
This news comes after China is reportedly considering shutting off Internet after midnight in order to combat Internet addiction, which may put the future of the mobile gaming industry in trouble. Rules released by the Cyberspace Administration of China last week would call for web game developers to block minors from playing online games from midnight until 8 am. Anybody under the age of 18 would also have to register their personal information on the game operator’s servers. In addition, the games would have to be designed in order to deter people from becoming addicted. Currently, the rules are still in the drafting process and are open to public feedback until the end of the month. But, China has a history of implementing regulations to stop young people from frequently playing video games. China has several “boot camps” that are described as treatment centers for people who are addicted to the Internet.
Candy Crush Saga is a free-to-play mobile puzzle game released by King in 2012. By 2012 the mobile game had over 10 million downloads and was earning $633,000 per day in the United States iOS App Store alone. But, the game became a hit in Hong Kong with studies showing one in seven Hong Kong citizens playing the video game. By 2014, Candy Crush Saga users spent over $1 billion on in-app purchases.