A study has found that playing video games has no effect on well-being

A study from Oxford University found that time spent playing video games had no effect on people’s well-being, combating concerns that gaming could be harmful to mental health.

In contrast to the vast majority of previous studies on the impact of video games on well-being, the Oxford team was able to track actual gameplay, rather than relying on self-reported estimates.

Together with seven different game publishers, who agreed to share data without controlling publishing, they were able to track the playing habits of nearly 40,000 individual players, all of whom agreed to join the study.

Andy Przybylski, one of the researchers, said the study scale provided strong evidence of no effect on well-being. “With 40,000 observations over six weeks, we really gave video game play spins a fair chance to predict emotional states in life satisfaction, and we found no evidence for that – we found evidence that this isn’t right in the way.”

What matters, Przybylski said, is “the mindset that people have when they approach games.” Players were asked to report their experiences on grounds such as “independence,” “competence,” and “internal motivation,” to deselect whether they were playing for health reasons, such as having fun or socializing with friends, or more, such as a compulsion to achieve the goals set by the game. .

The study found that healthy motivation was associated with positive well-being, while players who felt as though they ‘compelled’ to play the game also tended to feel worse satisfaction, regardless of how long they played.

Finding that there is no link between gameplay and wellbeing at extreme levels may collapse: there may be an impact if the player increases playtime by 10 hours. A day above what is usual for them. The study did not collect data for individual gaming sessions of less than zero or longer than 10 hours, due to the risk of recording errors. But it is powerful enough to refute many concerns that there is a general link between playtime and poor mental health.

Przybylski said the results cannot cover the entire game. Despite approaching over 30 publishers, only seven agreed to participate, and the games studied (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sport, Outriders, The Crew 2) represent the cross-section The broad but not the total of the broker.

“It took a year and a half for these game companies to donate their data, and these games were not chosen at random. But these are the publishers who are looking to open science,” Przybylski said.

However, the study, which builds on an earlier paper from the university that followed players in two games, is necessary to bridge the “concern and evidence gap”.

“This is a very basic study: we don’t even get into what people do while playing games, we don’t create an experience, however, even without this data, countries go through ordinances, in the case of Japan, or laws in the case of China, banning or limiting Games. These, if the explanations are taken at face value, are supposed to be about improving the mental health of young people. There is no evidence of their effectiveness.”

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