The 15-year-old is believed to have suffered an epileptic seizure after his marathon session of the fantasy game. Psychiatrists have previously warned that World of Warcraft’s addictive qualities could have “serious consequences” on young people.
The boy and six friends are understood to have played Wrath of the Lich King, the new extension of the game released last week, for 24 hours straight at his house in Laholm, Sweden this weekend.
“They played all day and all night. Maybe they got a few hours of sleep. They ate a little food and breakfast at their computers,” his father told a local newspaper.
After the teenager collapsed on Sunday afternoon, doctors said that his system had been weakened by lack of sleep, lack of food and over-concentration. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The boy’s father says he now plans to limit his son’s computer time and urged other parents to do the same.
World of Warcraft, which creates a vast interactive world for the gamer to explore, has grown into one of the most popular of all online games. More than 11 million people worldwide are registered as players.
More than 2,000 people queued for up to 18 hours outside an Oxford Street store in central London, in advance of a special midnight opening to get their hands on the second “expansion pack” for the role-playing game on Thursday.
Dr Richard Graham, a child psychiatrist at the Tavistock Centre, warned last week that some young people were damaging their social and mental development by playing the game for up to 16 hours at a time.
“The problem with World of Warcraft is the degree it can impact and create a socially withdrawn figure who may be connecting with people in the game and is largely dropping out of education, social opportunities,” he said.