The World Health Organisation has moved to classify excessive gaming as a mental health condition, saying a "gaming disorder" can severely impact mental well-being, jobs and relationships.
The WHO says those with the disorder can't stop themselves from playing and make gaming their number one priority.
Excessive gaming will be classed as a mental health condition by next year, the organisation says.
The classification is expected to lead to more dedicated treatment services, as well as research into the disorder.
Kyle McDonald is a psychotherapist and co-director of the Robert Street Clinic who says excessive gaming can lead to serious health issues.
"There's been a couple of documented cases of deaths related to fatigue and dehydration.
"People can become so engaged that they lose track with friends and family and can potentially lose jobs," he says.
Money may also be lost, as many games now include paying for "loot boxes" which offer the chance to win random rewards.
Game developers in New Zealand say they're trying to make games which are engaging rather than addictive.
Michael Vermeulen is a board member of the NZ Game Developers Association who says even minor changes can help make a big impact on gamers.
"Sometimes, little messages will pop up on the screen that tells people to take a break," he says.