Playing Video Games Can Benefit Mental Health, According To Oxford academics

The question of the impact of video games on our health has arisen an innumerable number of times since the creation of the medium. At the origin of many debates in the media, political and social spheres, video games are still a vast subject of study. More than a year after the inclusion of video game disorder on the WHO list of pathologies linked to addiction, a new study, conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute, is examining the potential benefits of regular practice.

Conducted on 3,274 players aged over 18, the study used data provided by Nintendo and Electronic Arts around two titles: Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. After regular gaming sessions, the subjects had to answer an anonymized questionnaire around the feeling of well-being. According to Professor Andrew Przybylski, it emerged from this study that players who played these titles regularly reportedly felt better than those who did not.

However, he indicates that the correlation between well-being and regular gaming is interesting only because the studies carried previously tackled the problem with misconceptions. However, he adds that the results do not give free rein to games, and that it will allow the development of new, more informative studies on the subject of addiction and toxicity issues.

“This is about bringing games into the fold of psychology research that’s not a dumpster fire,” said Andrew Przybylski, the lead researcher on the project. “This lets us explain and understand games as a leisure activity.

“It was a quest to figure out is data collected by gaming companies vaguely useful for academic and health policy research?”

“I’m very confident that if the research goes on, we will learn about the things that we think of as toxic in games,” Przybylski said, “and we will have evidence for those things as well.”

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