Oxford University Study Suggests That Playing Games Is Good For Your Mental Health

Research using more accurate testing methods suggests that video games can lead to a healthier state of wellbeing.


In a new study by Oxford University, it has been suggested that video games can be good for your mental wellbeing. What makes this particular study interesting is that it was the first of its kind to be done using actual play-time data, allowing the Oxford team to link up psychological questionnaires with the total time spent playing games according to cloud saves. Past studies about the mental effects of video games relied on test subjects to self-report how much time they'd spent on a game, which resulted in inaccurate results.

For the test, Nintendo's leisurely Animal Crossing: New Horizons and EA's quirky Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville action game were used.

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"This is about bringing games into the fold of psychology research that's not a dumpster fire," lead researcher on the project Andrew Przybylski explained to The Guardian. "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?"

Przybylski added that if researchers continue to factor in gameplay data from a larger pool of publishers and developers instead of relying self-reported hours from test participants, the results would reveal more behind the lifestyle of playing video games.

"You have really respected, important bodies, like the World Health Organization and the NHS, allocating attention and resources to something that there's literally no good data on, Przybylski said. "And it's shocking to me, the reputational risk that everyone's taking, given the stakes. For them to turn around and be like, 'hey, this thing that 95% of teenagers do? Yeah, that's addictive, no, we don't have any data,' that makes no sense."

In other scientific studies, new research from CQUniversity in Australia suggested that there's a correlation between players who purchase loot boxes and those who battle with more serious gambling problems. In testing that resulted in more obvious results, a Newzoo study found that up to 80 percent of all gamers eat food or drink regularly while playing games.

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