According to market research firm Newzoo, there are nearly 3 billion gamers in the world and if you look at the way video games are still covered on TV and in the news it’s easy to see why a study about their positive effects might prompt such shock. But that’s just what an Oxford study this week showed: people who play more video games report greater wellbeing and what the vast majority of them get out of their hobby is positive and life-enhancing.
“Playing video games BENEFITS mental health,” exclaimed MailOnline, while Business Insider went with “Video games might actually be good for you.”
This goes a long way in dispelling the urban myth and persistent negative stigma: that video games are still seen by many as, at best, a waste of time, and at worst downright sinister. That said, some people can develop an unhealthy relationship with video games – what the World Health Organization’s calls “gaming disorder” – but it does introduce a more balanced dialogue and get away from the news of a new video games being automatically accompanied with a “parents beware”.
But why the surprise? For anyone who actually plays video games, this is hardly news. Video games are fun and interesting, and doing fun, interesting things makes you happy. This year especially, video games have been an essential form of escapism and therapy for millions, and this latest study proves it.