Major study finds “little to no evidence” gaming affects wellbeing

The study examined 39,000 individuals and drew research from games ranging from 'Animal Crossing' to 'Apex Legends'

A recent study has shown that there’s “little to no evidence” that gaming has an effect on a person’s wellbeing. 

The study, which was conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute and reported on by BBC News, examined 39,000 game players, with wellbeing measured “by asking about life satisfaction and levels of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger and frustration.” It was also noted that the average person would have to play for “10 hours more than usual per day to notice any difference” in their wellbeing.

Apex Legends. Credit: Respawn Entertainment

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The study included six weeks of data from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and used Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sport, and The Crew 2 to find the results.

Professor Andrew Przybylski stated that people with more free time to play video games were probably happier, but he continued to say that “how much you play doesn’t really have any bearing whatsoever on changes in wellbeing. If players were playing because they wanted to, rather than because they felt compelled to, they had to, they tended to feel better.”

This contradicts the study from 2020, which sampled a much smaller pool of 3,274 gamers, and concluded that video games were good for a person’s wellbeing. Andrew Przybylski was also involved in the previous study.

George Osborn, head of campaigns & comms for Ukie (the trade body for UK games), as well as a key member of the Games Aid and SpecialEffect gaming charities, made a Twitter thread with several astute observations. Firstly, Osborn notes that gaming having little impact on wellbeing means that positive and negative outcomes from playing are probably determined by broader life circumstances.

Osborn also notes that this study could prove significant in debunking future claims of frequent gaming having a negative effect on people, and acts as a rebuttal towards “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition.

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In other news, a recent survey conducted by Atlus has shown that the Persona 2 duology and Persona 3 are the most requested remakes from fans.

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