Taken from an BBC special that aired last night:

“Most of us think of games as the preserve of the teenager; young people escaping into a virtual world of fantasy. It’s an attractive but artificial world where they can give themselves a new identity and a status and power unobtainable in reality.”

She spoke to World Of Warcraft ‘addict’ Michelle Hart, 39. Hart said she had been playing the game for two years and spends much of her non-working, non-sleeping life at her computer.

In one section that may make the industry particularly uncomfortable, Byron said:

“Michelle Hart is not what you would imagine as a dedicated gamer. She’s an intelligent, 39-year old woman with a decent job and no history of psychological problems.”

Byron later added:

“It might seem ludicrous to compare a childish computer fantasy game with hard drug addiction. But addiction counsellors offering treatment to gamers argue that there are key similarities in the way that the consumer gets hooked into coming back for more.”