Oxford Says Video Games Make You Happier

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According to a study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute, results showed that playing video games can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. The study used game data from two popular games: Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and EA’s Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville.

The study focused on exploring how game time affected a player’s wellbeing. It also studied how a player’s in-game experiences were linked to their wellbeing. 3,274 players, all over the age of 18, were asked to answer a survey created by the researchers to rate their experiences while gaming. The survey was sent out through gaming companies EA and Nintendo.

Researchers believed that previous data were mainly drawn from self-report surveys and not from actual game data provided by gaming companies, so claims regarding the effect of video games were drawn without any strong evidence to support those claims.

While previous studies claimed that longer play time negatively affected a person’s mood, this study found that play time played a small but significant factor in affecting wellbeing.  The factor that had a bigger role in wellbeing, though, was the player’s in-game experiences. Players who genuinely enjoyed playing the game reported a more positive wellbeing than those who, say, play just to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Another finding drawn from the study, which matches with the results of previous studies, is that people who failed to have their psychological needs met in real life had revealed to be less content even after playing.

However, this study isn’t a black-and-white kind of situation. Both games have social features in it, which could have been the reason why the study turned out the way it did. Which is why Professor Andrew Przybylski, who headed the study, called on other game developers to reveal their gaming data as well. The more games and players being study, the stronger the theories will be about how video games truly affect a person.