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Suing Sony for Everquest Related Suicide?

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the everything-is-somebody-else's-fault dept.

Games 967

daoine writes "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story about how Sony could be sued by the mother of an Everquest player who recently committed suicide. The lawsuit itself doesn't seem all that interesting (she's aiming for warning labels) -- but it is interesting that Sony won't release any of the game data citing privacy policy, even if it could help unlock what exactly drove the guy to end his life."

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He was Nerfed (2, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270414)

The poor guy, three years to work his Rogue up to level 50 and then suddenly they nerf his Sneak skill! There outta be a law!

Re:He was Nerfed (5, Funny)

TheDick (453572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270569)

Has anyone looted his corpse yet? And, are we sure it was a suicide? Maybe he was on a PK server...

Its possible.

Goes a bit far... (1, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270418)

Clearly if the guy had mental problems, then playing games 12 hours a day wouldn't help...

Re:Goes a bit far... (4, Funny)

sdflkgfljdqshgjkqsfg (129027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270532)

I gotta agree with you on that one. Yes I'm a programmer, and I know a lot IT related people read /. too, I (as some others here surely), have also played computer games for 12+ hours straight. Maybe even 12h/day for an entire week, but after that, I'm just washed out: head-aches, sleep-deprivation, undernourishment, aven after a week I can physically feel these symptoms... I usually stop playing such a game when vision of said game appear in my sleep... that's just too freaky for me.

Then of course reality slowly kicks back in and urges me to spend the next week in a bar with friends (whom I actually call, Mark, Eric and Fred and not Kueller, Vodobass and toString) thus leading to more hadaches, sleep deprivation and undernourishment I guess.
Then I usually find a job.

Sony should (5, Insightful)

Gehenna_Gehenna (207096) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270561)

sue the woman for being a poor mother and allowing her son to abuse their products. Seriously, if he had eaten 200 twinkies a day and died because he was overweight do you sue Hostess? No. Games don't kill kids. Bad parents do.

This is no different from the whole "Doom killed my kids" thing. The parents obviously feel horrible, and can't face the fact that their negligence and/or poor parenting directly contributed to their childs demise. Therefore, someoine else must be to blame. Even if he killed himself because of events in the game he OBVIOUSLY didn't have a very solid seat in reality. She should go to jail for child abuse.

Just my 2 cents.

IF they win this suit. (2, Insightful)

TheDick (453572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270420)

It will strongly discourage companies from making such highly engrossing games. I hope the Judge has the brains to throw this out immediately.

Re:IF they win this suit. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270570)

Dear Dick,

Are you gay? I hope so. I'd love to hit you in the shitter.
thanks

Of course it's posted NOW... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270426)

2002-04-01 20:18:27 Mother wishes to sue EverQuest for son's suicide (articles,doj) (rejected)

I guess since it wasn't "funny" enough for April 1st that they rejected it. It's old news now.

OT but you are right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270474)

i hate it when my storys get rejected only to find some elese gets the credit >:(

Why can't there be a "already submitted" type status instead of *YOU ARE CRAP - REJECTED STORY - GO INSTALL WINDOWS AND CRY*

Im off to install windows and cry ;(

Re:Of course it's posted NOW... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270540)

why dont you just stop being a little winey POS ...?

Re:Of course it's posted NOW... (2, Funny)

sergio.garcia (549229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270556)

Ok, but please dont commit suicide because your story wasnt posted, your mom might sue slashdot :(.

Ok, bad joke.. sorry.
Sergio

I said sorry!

Give me a break (4, Insightful)

wikki (13091) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270427)

If a video game caused you to end your life you have more serious problems that just being addicted to video games. This mother should be sued for not knowing enough about her kid. This is a great example of people trying to pass off blame on someone else. Give me a break, will this ever end?

Re:Give me a break (1)

Kircle (564389) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270479)

The mother or her lawyer obviously knows this, which is probably why they're only suing Sony to put in warning labels rather than suing for damages.

Re:Give me a break (5, Informative)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270505)

You didn't read the article...Not that anyone else does either.

The lawyer for Woolley made a statement saying that the labels would be an *indirect* result of the suit. They *are* suing for financial damages, so significant, in fact, that (paraphrased) "Sony will have to put warning labels on its games as a matter of fiduciary responsibility."

Re:Give me a break (1)

wikki (13091) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270531)

I noticed that in the article. I'll be interested to see if they really stick to this.

Re:Give me a break (2, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270565)

How about the kid, already moved out and living on his own, be the only one responsible for his own actions eh?

Re:Give me a break (5, Insightful)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270582)

No kidding. Not to mention, what kinda of warning label do you put on a game that has cartoonish violence with no blood, a language filter, so no bad language, no nudity, no anything. I can see it now:
"This game may simulate social contact with other human beings, if you are in any way mentally unstable please do not engage in such social contacts as it my be hazardous to your mental health."
Of course... then they would have to put one of those on LIFE...

Kintanon

Sony should sue the mother (1)

greensquare (546383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270429)

Mother's should not allow dangerously wacko kids to play too many video games.

Re:Sony should sue the mother (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270434)

He was 21 years old!

Re:Sony should sue the mother (1)

greensquare (546383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270482)

My comment stands. /* Mother of 21 year old Suing to get warning labels. Come on... */

Re:Sony should sue the mother (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270519)

I agree. I was just making the point that he wasn't a kid.

Geeks are supposed to kill others, not themselves! (-1, Flamebait)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270432)


Couldn't he have just fired a few rounds off at school?

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270478)

wish I had some mod points for ya

first suicide! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270435)

First post!! I mean suicide!

Words of Wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270436)

The Manufactures of the World may be reduced to two sorts; that is, the Necessary, which consist in all that is wrought for Man's Necessities or conveniences; and the Superfluous, which consist in all that is wrought, and serves to gratify his Vanity or Pleasures.

sigh... (4, Funny)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270437)

i wonder how long it took to prepare that brief...

Lawyer: Hey - does anyone have the old AD&D suicide brief? cool, thanks.

s/AD&D/Everquest/
s/TSR/Sony/

there, done.

Re:sigh... (1)

Corby911 (250281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270494)

That should be:

s/AD&D/Everquest/g
s/TSR/Sony/g

That'll take care of all of them.

Re:sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270514)

s/AD\&D/Everquest/g
s/TSR/Sony/g

Can't forget to escape the & sign.

Re:sigh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270537)

you are all a bunch of geeks

(typing so the lameness filter doenst think i'm lame)

Re:sigh... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270552)

Hm, you probably want a s///g there...

Damn I'm a fucking pedant.

Darwin wins again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270439)

Actually, no. Does anyone think this guy was really going to contribute to the gene pool?

Re:Darwin wins again (1)

delphin42 (556929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270509)

If you had read the article, you would have known that this guy was mentally ill with a personality disorder, which among other things contributes to a lack of sexual drive. I doubt he would have contributed to the gene pool anyway. If they put him on antidepressants, it would have only exaggerated that part of the problem.

Warning Label (4, Interesting)

cosmol (143886) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270440)

I think the circlemud warning [circlemud.org] would be a good fit.
If you're already an old hand at playing MUDs and you've decided you want to start one of your own, here's my advice: take a vailum, lie down, and hide in a dark closet until the desire goes away. Just playing MUDs is masochistic enough, isn't it? Or are you trying to shave that extra point off your GPA, jump down that one last notch on your next job evaluation, or get rid of that pesky Significant Other for good? If you think silly distractions like having friends and seeing daylight are preventing you from realizing your full potential in the MUD world, MUD Administrator is the job for you.

Don't get me wrong: running a production MUD can be great fun. It can also be overburdened by politics and plagued by spiteful players devoted to making your life difficult, and otherwise be a highly frustrating endeavour. That's why I don't do it any more.

Re:Warning Label (4, Funny)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270581)

Warning Label Proposal A:

"Don't play this game if you're crazy"

Warning Proposal after the marketing guys see it:

"This game is so cool, it just might kill you! You have been warned!"

12. (-1)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270444)

I put aside a few sceptics, the types of decency in the history of philosophy: the rest haven't the slightest conception of intellectual integrity. They behave like women, all these great enthusiasts and prodigies--they regard "beautiful feelings" as arguments, the "heaving breast" as the bellows of divine inspiration, conviction as the criterion of truth. In the end, with "German" innocence, Kant tried to give a scientific flavour to this form of corruption, this dearth of intellectual conscience, by calling it "practical reason." He deliberately invented a variety of reasons for use on occasions when it was desirable not to trouble with reason--that is, when morality, when the sublime command "thou shalt," was heard. When one recalls the fact that, among all peoples, the philosopher is no more than a development from the old type of priest, this inheritance from the priest, this fraud upon self, ceases to be remarkable. When a man feels that he has a divine mission, say to lift up, to save or to liberate mankind--when a man feels the divine spark in his heart and believes that he is the mouthpiece of supernatural imperatives--when such a mission in. flames him, it is only natural that he should stand beyond all merely reasonable standards of judgment. He feels that he is himself sanctified by this mission, that he is himself a type of a higher order! . . . What has a priest to do with philosophy! He stands far above it!--And hitherto the priest has ruled!--He has determined the meaning of "true" and "not true"!

Riiiiiiiiight....it was the game.... (5, Insightful)

DohDamit (549317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270446)

Shawn Woolley - who was overweight, worked in a pizza restaurant and lived alone in an apartment the last months of his life - may have depended on EverQuest to provide the life he really wanted to live.

Couldn't have been that he was a schizoid depressive maniac who didn't have any friends. Must be the game.

(Leaves comparisons to Black Sabbath and D&D to other posters....)

Did you know? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270447)

If your penis is small enough to fit through the hole of a cd, then you have been using linux!

Probably won't be the only one ... (5, Funny)

moominpapa (193163) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270449)

From the article:

A psychologist diagnosed him with depression and schizoid personality disorder, symptoms of which include a lack of desire for social relationships, little or no sex drive and a limited range of emotions in social settings.

Sounds like most Slashdot readers are in danger,

Oh Goodie! (5, Funny)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270453)

Now maybe video games will take the heat for teen suicide and Ozzy can get some rest.

If your life is Everquest... (2)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270457)

you might as well kill yourself. Like my friend's roomate last year. He played Asheron's Call day and night. What kind of life is that? It's a waste of life if you ask me. Suicide isn't a good thing, and I'm really opposed to it, but at the same time who needs these people that play MMORPGs 24/7? No offense to the people who play them casually and not all the time, however few of you there are.

Re:If your life is Everquest... (2)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270566)

oh go back to watching TV

Two things... (5, Insightful)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270458)

She is angry that Sony Online Entertainment, which owns EverQuest, won't give her the answers she desires.

In other words, she'll appeal and appeal until Sony caves in and settles.

"The manufacturer of EverQuest purposely made it in such a way that it is more intriguing to the addict,"

Well, *duh*. Entertainment is supposed to be enjoyable...And *newsflash!* Enjoyable things are addictive! Like sports...taking walks...shopping...sex! If it wasn't, then we as humans wouldn't seek it out so often, and it wouldn't enrich our lives - We'd turn into very dull people.

Not only that, but it's in Verant/Sony's financial interests to make the game enjoyable and addictive. Since it's on a subscription-based model, they need people to *want* to continue to play, so that THEY can to continue to make money.

*FWAP* - The sound of 1,000,000 Slashdot readers simultaneously slapping their foreheads in disgust...

Re:Two things... (1)

Ranma (3995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270524)

Well, *duh*. Entertainment is supposed to be enjoyable...And *newsflash!* Enjoyable things are addictive! Like sports...taking walks...shopping...sex! If it wasn't, then we as humans wouldn't seek it out so often, and it wouldn't enrich our lives - We'd turn into very dull people.

NO NO NO NO! Entertainment is not supposed to be addictive. I have a brother who used to play everquest, until I finally smacked some sense into him. Most people that spend a lot of time on the computer have addictive personalities. Sony designed that game for it to only be enjoyable for someone who spends a SHITLOAD of time playing. Anyway, good news is that he hardly spends time on the computer now, and spends his time fucking and working out. Now that's a life!

-me

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270583)

and spends his time fucking and working out

So in other words he changed his addiction. Now he can be addicted to sex until he knocks somebody up or gets a disease - or - he can work out and take steriods and other "enhancements" until his penis shrivels and he gets Cancer.

Maybe you should have your brother get some help instead of just encouraging him to have addictions that you find more appealing.

My prediction - Mass online suicide (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270461)

First the religious cults....

Next, a group of 10-20 people (probably a real life everquest 'group') will all kill themselves in an intricate suicided plot.

Re:My prediction - Mass online suicide (3, Funny)

bbh (210459) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270592)

Well, the leader of the group will do it, then the rest of his party will laugh and split up the loot on his corpse. Sometimes it sucks to take the lead!

bbh

Anyone ever hear of uninstall? (2, Insightful)

Hooligan Rob (570547) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270462)

Jebus, if he had that big a problem, and it was ruining his life, couldn't his mother have intervened and uninstalled the damned thing? Or maybe take the computer away? So the guy was 21 and living in his own apartment... he wasn't exactly making the big money, so it's likely he wouldn't be able to afford a new computer... And by the looks of it, he wasn't too much brighter than his mother...

Seizures? (2, Insightful)

Corby911 (250281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270463)


"Shawn was playing 12 hours a day, and he wasn't supposed to because he was epileptic, and the game would cause seizures," she said. "Probably the last eight times he had seizures were because of stints on the computer."

OK, her son got seizures from the game and she's suing to have warning labels on the game because her son killed himself? His suicide was probably seizure related. (IANAD, so that may not be possible)

Oh, and good for Sony for standing behind their privacy policy.

Re:Seizures? (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270497)

iirc, video games put epileptic warnings in the fine print in the back of the instruction booklets.

Big choice (2, Insightful)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270466)

This presents a big choice: should the company release information, violating their privacy policy and losing their customers's trust and setting a bad precedent, or should they refuse, thereby making it harder to figure out why this guy died? I choose the latter option.

Obviously this guy wasn't a normal Everquest player, and there should be a lot of evidence for why he suicided sitting around in the ordinary world. I don't see any need to violate a privacy policy, which IMO should be inviolate.

Art of Illusion rocks (-1)

OsamaBinLager (532628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270527)

I never knew 3d illustrators didn't have to suck.

Sony games lead to suicide.... (1, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270467)

And as George Carling once said "Mother's milk leads to everything"

Re:Sony games lead to suicide.... (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270495)

oops, i meant "Carlin". See, mother's milk leads to misspellings too.

Warning labels?!? (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270468)

Here's a warning label for you:

"Warning! Everquest won't be able to stop your children from committing suicide."

Excellent. (1)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270470)

Maybe now I can sue Sony due to the fact that now that I play Everquest I have no life.

I hate that game with every inch of my body... (2, Interesting)

MrHat (102062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270472)

Wouldn't Everquest qualify as a symptom of the illness, and not the underlying cause?

I mean, geez, have you seen an Everquest player around your local dorm/apartment lately? Some of those mofos are pretty scary.

it'll get dismissed... (4, Insightful)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270475)

the kid was 21 years old, an eppileptic, and clinically depressed, along with a few other psyhological disorders. IANA[insert profession here], but to me it's clear that the game was part of the problem as he was playing 12 hours/day, and once thought the characters were chasing him, but mom and the psychologist continued to let him play it. Sony's lawyers will also be quick to point out the Columbine case.

Re:it'll get dismissed... (2)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270589)

shit I'll be dead soon

I've spent 7 days (time total) out of the last 20 playing Dark Age of Camelot including a few 17 hours sessions

pass me the pills momma I'm gonna check out

I hope the guy gave his stuff away

maybe he couldn't find his corpse so he made his own!

What a new label would look like (1)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270477)

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Gaming Causes Loss of Sleep, Weight Gain, Eye Strain, And May Complicate Personal Relationships. This Product Also Contains High Levels of Roleplaying. Quitting Gaming Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.

Ya! (1, Funny)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270481)

"It's like any other addiction," Elizabeth Woolley said last week.

"Except for the chemical dependency, the violent interference with the brain's core function, the hallucinations, ability to ignore pain, increased heart rate and risk of heart failure, sexual disfunction, and massive expense, it's just like any other addiction. Addicts always look like my son: fat, sedentary losers with glasses."

Right (1)

Kushrenada (567521) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270501)

I hope the juge throwes this case out.

Re:Ya! (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270507)

"Except for the chemical dependency, the violent interference with the brain's core function, the hallucinations, ability to ignore pain, increased heart rate and risk of heart failure, sexual disfunction, and massive expense, it's just like any other addiction"

Wow! What brand of cigarettes do YOU smoke?!

This lady has her head on backwards!! (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270484)


From the article...

A psychologist diagnosed him with depression and schizoid personality disorder, symptoms of which include a lack of desire for social relationships, little or no sex drive and a limited range of emotions in social settings.

"This fed right into the EverQuest playing," Woolley said. "It was the perfect escape."


Now, isn't Everquest a massively online social environment?

Weddings, friendships, etc etc?

Other issues then just EQ (2)

daanger0us (473406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270485)

Obviously this guy had some issues, which probably just compounded by him taking EQ to seriously (You mean you are a man instead of a hot female elf!?)

Seriously, his mother really has no merit on trying to blame a game on someones own mental problems and suicide. If she cared that much, the she should have seen that he had problems already and tried to get him help.

This is like people sueing McDonalds because the coffee is hot...

People should sue linus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270487)

I know some one who commited suicide trying to compile the linux kernel on a 286!

I bet.... (0)

YoPt (172577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270488)

he was capming RageFire. This kind of stuff doesn't happen to people that play DAoC. heh

Label it! (1, Troll)

Patman (32745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270490)

C'mon, Sony, get off your asses and label it already.

Tell 'em it's addictive. Tell 'em it'll make them suicidal, depressed, happy, sad, melancholy, and maybe a touch whimisical.

Label EVERYTHING! Tell the public that anything they buy could possibly have all kinds of negative effects on them.

That way, when the next mental patient who just happened to use your product offs himself, you can point to your warning labels and say "See? You were warned."

weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270492)

... my calendar shows second of April. But maybe, it's just the timezone difference.

it amazes me (2, Insightful)

fabiolrs (536338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270496)

It amazes me how people are stupid enough to believe these games would drive someone crazy enough in order to make him suicide! Thats bullshit! Ive played GTA, Carmaggedon, Duke Nuken 3D and many other games even worse and I never killed anyone, never drive into anything, never killed myself (duh, obviously)...

Tell this idiot mother to look for other problems her son might had instead of trying to get some money from Sony!

Responsibility (1)

thelenm (213782) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270499)

People have to take some sort of responsibility for their own actions. If this guy had problems to the extent that he was willing to take his own life, I don't think a video game maker can be held responsible for that. Why is everything always someone else's fault?

Of course they won't release it. (1)

InnereNacht (529021) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270500)

Come on!

You seriously think they keep text logs of everything everyone ever says for the entire 4 years of the game? 400,000 subscribers?

I'm a player myself, I've had to petition GM's on numerous occassions and was told "Sorry friend, we don't have access to older logs". Even in cases of account fraud, they really can't get any logged proof, with the exception of login/out times.

If anything, I'd think they would MAYBE have game text logs a week or so old, but anything more than that? I have to doubt it.

In the Journtinal? (2)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270503)

That was a local story, and I didn't even know it.

Maybe it's a sign that I should get out more..

Nah, I'm not overweight, I have 3 kids, so the sex drive is ok.. I have a nice house at the base of a mountain, 4 horses, a miner who's up to level 50 now..

and a warning label woulda stopped it? (2)

josquint (193951) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270508)

If the person ignores family/friends/all responsibilites and quits his job... the person is supposed to take a warning label to heart?

Besides.. the dude probably got Britished [oldmanmurray.com]

A message for mom... (2, Insightful)

Silver222 (452093) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270513)

Your kid was 21 fucking years old! If that's not old enough for him to be responsible for his actions, you should have had him in a home. I'm sorry for your loss, but you are making yourself look like an ass by suing Sony.

Waring labels? (1)

GutBomb (541585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270515)

She has hired an attorney who plans to sue the company in an effort to get warning labels put on the games. Like what? Warning: This game may lead to losing your sanity and may cause suicide. Please Buy Me! Crack doesn't come with a warning label, but the buyers know what they re getting into. why should this game or any other be any different?

Is the world a better place (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270516)

without this guy?

Addiction is a personality type. (2)

Steev (5372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270517)

I think that it's easily shown that addiction is not necessarily limited to a certain type of thing to which one can be addicted. It's more about one's personality.

Sure, there are things like narcotics that form physical dependancies, but by FAR the majority of addictions are psychological. ANYTHING can become addictive if the right person is exposed to it. Are we going to put warning labels on carrots? on AOL CDs? (I know there's some nutjob out there that collects them) Where does it end?

Labels on products aren't going to help if the public isn't educated on the issues of addition in general.

Comparisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270518)

Has anyone compared the suicide rate of Everquest players to that of the general populace?

There's a good reason for this: (5, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270522)

but it is interesting that Sony won't release any of the game data citing privacy policy, even if it could help unlock what exactly drove the guy to end his life

Sony (rightly) believes that giving this case the time of day is in a way admitting possibility of fault. The simple fact is that people commit suicide over a lot of things. If someone reads a book and it depresses them to the point that they kill themselves, it's not the fault of the author. Likewise, while it's very sad that this person killed himself, it's in absolutely no way Sony's fault.

Sony (again, rightly) believes that their game data is irrelevant to the case. What would be a lot more telling is an analysis of any possible psychological problems the boy had that led to his suicide.

Lendrick

I don't know Everquest that well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270546)

but might the game data include his interactions with other users? And as for privacy... What do he dead want with privacy.

This isn't addiction... (5, Insightful)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270535)

... it's compulsive behavior. Almost anything can be compulsive. Picking your nose, eating your hair, sucking your thumb, washing your hands fifty times a day, sex - they can all be compulsive, but they're not addictive.

To compare video games to things that are really addictive like smoking or crack is silly. Worse than that, it gives you an excuse not to deal with your compulsion properly. It's way to easy to say "oh, I can't quit - I'm addicted". Nonsense. Go on vacation somewhere where you have better things to do than EverQuest and you'll find your "addiction" wasn't nearly as strong as you'd thought.

As for this poor guy who committed suicide, that's sad. But he obviously had deeper problems. If EverQuest hadn't existed he would have latched on to some other way of escaping from his real life.

mandatory warning labels (1)

scrawny (75842) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270538)

what's next?

Warning: This bottle contains water. In some circumstances, water has been known to cause drowning. Enjoy this product carefully.

Re:mandatory warning labels (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270584)

When you read warnings on curling irons that warn 'Not for internal use,' and have people suing McDonalds for hot coffee being hot, it's not that far away.

Same garbage, different market segment (-1, Flamebait)

T5 (308759) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270543)

This is the same hysteria that surrounds those who incriminate the firearms manufacturers and tobacco companies. Liberals tend to blame the inanimate objects that certain idiots use in ways that damage themselves and others instead of blaming the idiots themselves.

Not Surprising... (2)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270545)

People sued bands for making songs that their kids listen to and commit suicide.

People sued authors for making stores that their kids read and commited suicide.

The key I believe is that there is no link between listening to the band and the mental state of a suicidal person. Same thing with books and people. Same thing with EQ and this player. I believe it is as simple as that. If it wasn't EQ it would have been something else. But I guess the short sighted solution would be to sue them instead.

Instead of looking for why EQ set this person on the path of self destruction the parents may want to look at why they didn't see it coming. I am under the impression suicidal behavior has many indicators that shouldn't be ignored. So why didn't they recognize something is wrong? Sure they may have not been licensed or studied anything about sucide but ignoring abnormal and extremely weird behavior is irresponsible.

And, here is the kicker folks, not the band, the author's, or EQ's fault.

Here's A Better Article. (2)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270548)

While Taco was busy snotting all of us with stupid April Fools crap, K5 [kuro5hin.org] was busy posting intelligent stories. They ran this story yesterday [kuro5hin.org] with a very interesting article attached and already some very good commentary. I highly recommend everyone read this one comment [kuro5hin.org] that sums up, I'd say, a lot of our thoughts.

Cause and effect (2)

goldspider (445116) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270553)

"Shawn Woolley loved an online computer game so much that he played it just minutes before his suicide."

(tongue-in-cheek)

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a cause-and-effect if I've ever heard one.

(/tongue-in-cheek)

This seems relevant somehow (2)

connorbd (151811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270555)

http://members.tripod.com/~limsk/pulling.htm [tripod.com]

Read this, any of you who buy the RPG/MUD/Everquest-leads-to-suicide line. This is as clear-cut a case of scapegoating as I've ever seen. I've now done my duty as a Good Little Karma Whore (tm), I hope :-)

/Brian

Cripes (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270559)

I submitted this yesterday, but it seems that April Fools 'jokes' were more important. Speaking as somebody who was throughly MUD addicted in college, there really does need to be some study into this. It's perfect 'task-reward' style psychology.

Don't Shutdown That Computer!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270560)

Now that he has moved onto a higher plane has anybody check to see if his computer is still running and if any of his characters are named Tron?

Slashdot is next!!! (-1, Offtopic)

anonymous_wombat (532191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270563)

Some poor loser who just can't earn enough karma points will be next.

Hysterical! Misreporting! On! Slashdot! (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270573)

Slashdot editors chose to run a story with the title: "Sony Sued for Everquest Related Suicide"

If you take ten seconds to scan the story, you'll find that it's actually:

  • She has hired an attorney who plans to sue the company in an effort to get warning labels put on the games.

Whole world of difference, I think you'll find. Sooner or later, Slashdot is going to get bitchslapped for its sloppy reporting.

Blame someone else lawsuit (2)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270575)

Certainly it was not the individuals personal problems that caused his suicide it was the video game. Certainly it was not my lack of attention to my son that caused his suicide it was the music he listened to. Certainly it was not my fault that I spilled the hot coffee on myself it was McDonalds for serving hot coffee. Certainly I should not be responsible for my own actions.... So label the game addictive, label the coffee hot, label the music bad and pay me a few million dollars for my mistake

The boy was epileptic (2, Interesting)

ramdac (302865) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270577)

...It was bound to happen sooner or later.

He had already had numerous seizures.

He had hawked a lot of his posessions, quit his job, and was spending 12 hours every day playing "ever-crack".

His mom should be the one to look at. I call it negligance on her part.

Is there anyway to increase this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3270578)

Maybe my healthcare rates wouldn't be so high if the screwballs played everquest first and then committed suicide. I got a great idea for all the bums! Death to the insane!

More to the issue (2, Interesting)

lux55 (532736) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270579)

Nobody has ever killed him/herself solely because of a video game. An external factor like depression or mental sickness should be looked at before pointing your finger at a game maker. If it's his mother suing, didn't she notice his change for the worse in regards to his demeanor and social avoidance the last few months of his life? Was she somehow unaware of his mental condition, something Sony was obviously acutely aware of. It sounds disrespectful, people need to stop pointing the finger. I'm not sayng pointing it at themselves, I'm saying that the most troubling aspect of suicide is that you are left with no one to place the blame on.

This touches on something on my mind the past few days, because yesterday was my birthday (believe it or not), and one year ago yesterday an old friend of mine hung himself. A few months later, my close friend's grandfather killed himself as well. I've known a few more suicides as well (they just flock to me...).

Someone's decision to end their life is NEVER the result of the influence of a freakin' game.

Misunderstanding mental illness.... (4, Interesting)

tomdarch (225937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270588)

even if it could help unlock what exactly drove the guy to end his life.

I Am Not A Psychiatrist, but....

Overwhelmingly suicide is the result of mental illness and/or substance use. (More than half of all suicides in the US are alchohol related). Think about it, if a guy has a heart attack while shovling snow off the driveway, learning more about the snow crystals doesn't tell you about his heart attack. He had heart disease, and the exertion of shoveling caused one of several bad things to happen inside is heart. Mental illness is a disease state - suicidiality is a symptom of the disease.

One might want engage in a bunch of Freudian analysis of this guy's game play, but, odds are, the levels of seritonin activity in his brain were out of whack. Did Everquest create stress in this guy's life that incresed the intensity of his suicidiality? (this would be the 'shoveling' int the heart attack metaphor) - maybe. But real life is generally a hell of a lot more stressful.

What's a label going to do? (1)

Kraegar (565221) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270590)

So say the game had been labeled as highly addictive... if I saw something like that on the side of a game box I'd chalk it up to Marketing hype. "XXXXX is highly addictive, and may lead to loss of sleep and a decline in your social life". Um, marketing to geeks they'd read that and think "No change there, cool!"

Come on... This is like saying D&D leads to increased suicide rates, wheras studies like this [religioustolerance.org] seem to indicate that people playing D&D have a lesser chance of commiting suicide.

It's all nonsense, but in the sensationalist american life, anything you can blame for your troubles is a great target for a lawsuit.

Warning Labels (2, Insightful)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270594)

The article follows a line of reasoning that because Everquest is addictive it should come with warning labels just like alcohol and tobacco products. The problem with this analogy is that Everquest is NOT an addictive substance. I agree it can be addictive, but it follows more in rank with Gambling than drugs and alcohol. It's pure sensationalism to draw a comparison between a game and highly addictive chemical substances. However, to simply dismiss the potential harm Everquest can cause is underestimating the situation. Sure most people won't get addicted in any harmfull way. But there are those same personality types which get addicted to gambling that can find the same kind of problems from Everquest. There really needs to be more common sense in journalism these days.
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