There has been no comment on what game he was playing or whether he had any underlying health problems. What we do know is that the 21-year-old ended work at a karaoke center at 2am on Christmas and jumped straight into a game-a-thon that was, incidentally, interrupted by short breaks for meals and trips to the bathroom. Forty hours into his session, he died.
Assuming that the story is true, it is very interesting. It is not the first gaming-related death that we have seen, but more importantly it is not the first gaming-related health incident where things went south at around the 40-hour mark. Obviously there have not been enough of these deaths to draw any significant conclusions about what is causing them, but I would suspect that there are other mechanisms at play – staying awake for 40 hours shouldn’t kill anyone – but pounding stimulants (caffeine counts too) and engaging in a mentally exhausting activity for 40 hours straight can’t be good for you.
There is also the little factor that this news comes out of China and that the Chinese government has been known to bend truths to make the news fit its agenda – given that they have had issues with Internet cafes in the past, there is that to consider. At any rate, it has happened before, in other countries so if you are the sort of person who doesn’t know when to draw the line on extended gaming sessions, maybe you should look at this as some sort of lesson.