The article, from Newsweek, seems to be aimed at nongamer audiences, but it is still an interesting read for the way it portrays the game and its reflexes and consequences in 'real' life.
Comments at Koster's website have been mostly, so far, filled with a certain sense of outrage about the way the game is negatively depicted by the journalist. A passage from the text:
"Are you getting the idea that "Warcrack" (as some call it) eats up a lot of time? "Of all the games that my [addictive] clients are involved with, World of Warcraft is the most popular," says clinical psychologist Kimberly Young. Mostly, trouble comes in the form of kids who fall asleep in class, and furious spouses."
Do videogames need safety nets?
Could the article be accused of having sensationalist tones? Maybe. Could it be exaggerating its focus on the dark side of the spectrum? Yes, maybe it could. From the game's 7 million players, how many have pathological behaviours over it? I have no idea, but I guess it's a minimal percentage.
However, when players are willing to confine themselves to addiction clinics and some others are falling dead after long game sessions, you can not escape a justified dose of suspicion and criticism over the whole MMOG business.
Gamers have long learned to defend their medium from (unfair) accusations of stimulating violent behaviour. The problem is that, now, almost any accusation of anti-social behaviour caused/stimulated by games can be instantly dismissed as "unfair" and "prejudicial" by a mass of gaming advocates. Normally, I would be among them, but I guess all this unanimity around "games are good for you - no matter what" is not helping us understand some real issues surrounding games, and how the industry could improve their products.