On the 2008 Thanksgiving weekend, Steve and Angelika Crisp confiscated their son Brandon's Xbox. The Crisps could not have
foreseen the tragic consequences. Brandon retaliated by running away from home – his body was discovered three weeks later. Brandon's death became a national news story – he was not just another teen runaway.
Brandon's disappearance and death revealed to parents a darker aspect to their children 's gaming: addiction. And as gamers are drawn into an alternate world their need to play is fuelled by dreams of international glory and the chance to win thousands of dollars on a professional gaming circuit.
In a fifth estate investigation by reporter Gillian Findlay, viewers will go inside this virtual community – where gaming addiction can trump family and friends. Brandon's best friend gives us insights into Brandon's growing gaming obsession. A self-confessed former gaming addict offers candid views about his own attempt to break the gaming cycle. We'll also meet a group of young Canadian “athletes” who play on a professional gaming team, complete with a coach and a big-name sponsor.
And Findlay will speak with two people who see the harm of video game obsession – a family therapist whose practice is filling with game addicts and their families and a psychologist who pushed the industry to adopt a ratings system. As well, Findlay interviews the CEO of a pro-gaming circuit who talks about the lure of competitive gaming – a lure not just for young players, but also for the companies who advertise to gamers.
And finally, the fifth estate
talks to Brandon Crisp's parents – who are still coming to terms with how their son's obsession led to tragedy, and who remind us that Brandon was not unlike other teenagers who may also find themselves captivated by video games.