Cybercrime is rarely thought of in conjunction with video games. It’s either thought of as stealing credit card information over the internet or as having the terrifying capability to shut down our systems of living and working that are becoming increasingly digitally-based.
But videos games now fit into the realm of cybercrime. According to BBC News Technology, hackers have created a virus that finds saved files of video games and encrypts them, only providing the user with a key to unlock the saved data if he or she pays a ransom of $500 in Bitcoin or $1000 over PayPal.
So where does addiction fit into this picture? To you or me, the idea of paying $500-1000 to continue playing a game would probably seem absurd. It simply wouldn’t be worth it. However, video game addiction has increasingly been recognized as a psychological disorder with few differences from other types of addiction such as alcohol and gambling. There is a disturbing string of deaths caused from video game addiction, ranging anywhere from a gamer dropping dead from exhaustion after a 72 hour to a husband and wife allowing their infant to die through neglecting to care for him while they raised a virtual infant in a video game. To these people, $500 would be a small price to pay to continue playing. The games being targeted are games like World of Warcraft that allow for the creation of entire virtual worlds that the gamer’s character inhabits with remarkable similarities to real life. To a gamer who is more invested in his virtual life than his real life, the thought of losing this life would be unbearable. The creators of the ransom virus, one man’s addiction is another man’s profit.