A recent study from the University of Oxford, as reported by the BBC, has shown that playing games makes you happier. Specifically, this study relates to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. It says that these are non-violent, but there’s plenty of shooting in Garden Warfare 2. The study followed 3,000 or so gamers, monitoring their actual in-game hours. It showed that the more they played, particularly during the pandemic, the happier the gamers were as a result. It sounds like the average is four hours per day, which I’d say is about right.
I love that there’s finally a study out there that shows the positive benefits of gaming. For too long we’ve had people who aren’t actually doctors telling the world that gaming is exactly the same as taking drugs. While those conducting the study have said that the more they look into the data, the more bad things they’ll find, they’re also pleased to be reporting on the good stuff. I think it’s a breath of fresh air for every gamer who has been told how much they’re harming themselves through games in the past.
In a way, this study shows that the next-generation of consoles couldn’t have come any sooner. We all need these new machines so that we can shut ourselves off from the madness of the world and get some space from it all. While it might seem like gamers are ignoring the problems in the world, we’re actually just getting some perspective. It’s also much easier to deal with the new day to day if you’re happy. Which is a result of gaming.
I think that games are only going to become more important as time goes on. Now that the next-generation is here, gamers will be resorting to games as much as possible in order to help them feel normal. It may even become far more common to spend more time socialising in games than it is to socialise in person. I’m looking forward to connecting with others over Christmas through games. I suspect most people around the world will be doing something very similar.