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A 2020 study from the University of Oxford found that gaming for long periods of time left players feeling happier than those who don’t. It certainly makes sense on its surface, as being able to kick back with a game and play for an extended period means you’re having fun for a few hours! Many found the results of that 2020 study to be obvious, but now a new study shares some data in the opposite direction.

A new study conducted by the same team at the University of Oxford and published by The Royal Society, a learned society and the United Kingdom’s national academy of sciences, has found “little to no evidence” that time spent playing affects well-being. If anything, the average player would have to play 10 hours over their usual amount of playtime to make any sort of measurable impact. Well-being was measured by asking about life satisfaction and levels of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger and frustration.

All this said, it is important to note that players who played because they wanted to, rather than because they felt compelled to, did tend to feel better. Again, that seems a bit obvious as well. If you set out to do something because you actually want to, the end result tends to be a bit of happiness.

For the purposes of this study, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo provided six weeks of data from the following games:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Apex Legends
  • Eve Online
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gran Turismo Sport
  • The Crew 2
Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

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Comments (4)

mike_intellivision

15d ago

Maybe all of this means that games make a perceivable difference in well-being when things are bleak.

In 2020, we needed escapism even more than today.


Nah, it just means that the study was conducted in a way to get this result. Studies like this mean absolutely nothing since they can be so weighted in one direction that it serves no real purpose outside of someone with a lot of money wanting their side to be academically reported.


sligeach_eire

15d ago

@bakfug

I don't think there's any bias here. This is a study from the University of Oxford, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. Studies like this are to present facts, the companies supplied the data, but they don't control what or how it's reported. It's a good sample size, almost 40,000 people over a reasonable timeframe.

I caught wind of this on an Irish news programme from Ireland's national radio broadcaster, Drivetime. The 2 presenters of the show were dismissive of the report, like they're more qualified than people at the University of Oxford to comment.

I see this report as positive, playing video games doesn't turn people into madmen, so to speak. You know, how they're often portrayed as the scapegoat by the media, when something horrible happens.


kuribo

14d ago

It’s good to see studies done to support what most of us already know.

Obviously this doesn’t cover situations where people spend “too much time” gaming to the point other life responsibilities are forgotten. But that can happen with other media or hobbies too.

This study is looking at “normal” gaming habits and finding they have no negative impact.