During the COVID-19 pandemic, global video game sales skyrocketed to 175 billion in total global sales, a 31% rise in sales from 2019, which recorded only 120.1 billion in total sales. The increase in sales was largely credited to the COVID-19 pandemic’s shelter-in-place orders, which asked citizens to remain at home for the majority of 2020. However, many experts now believe that this rise in video game sales was also due to the positive impact video games have on civilian mental health, which greatly suffered throughout the pandemic. While video games are considered one of the most popular pastimes in countries worldwide, little research has been done on the psychological impact of video games on players. However, this has recently changed thanks to Oxford University’s Director of Research Andrew Przybylski who’s recent study has paved the way for future studies into video game’s psychological effects. Mobile gaming platform Playphone and recognizes the significance of this study and hopes to educate others on the mental benefits of video games. Below, Playphone will review the Oxford University’s video game study as well as Professor Andrew Przbylski’s findings.
Within this study, Oxford University’s Professor Andrew Przybylskihoped to explore the connection between objective game time and well-being while also reviewing the link between measured behavior and subjective mental health. The study explored not only the role of player experiences but also how feelings of autonomy, enjoyment, competence, and peer pressure relegated to the typical video gamer’s well-being. Within the study, Oxford researchers surveyed 3,270 players and asked them to record their well-being, motivational experiences, and self-reported play while playing two popular video games (Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons). The survey’s findings were combined with behavioral data collected by video game companies.
The key findings of the survey include: • Players who experience genuine enjoyment from video games report more positive well-being• People whose psychological needs are not being met in the “real world” can report negative well-being from video gaming• A player’s subjective experiences during video gaming are a more significant factor for well-being than simply time spent video gaming. • The amount of time a player spends gaming was a small but major positive factor in people’s well-being.
Overall, the study shows that a player’s feelings of competence during gameplay combined with social connections made in online gaming community play are significant contributors to a person’s well-being. Additionally, the study found that those who report enjoyment from gaming were more likely to report positive well-being.