Playing video games can be good for mental health and can make people happier, a recent study by Oxford University claims.
The Oxford University conducted a study on 3,274 players where it used industry data on actual playtime for popular video games Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The study's result found that people experiencing genuine enjoyment from the games experience more positive well-being.
"The experiences during play maybe even more important than the actual amount of time a player invests in games and could play a major role in the well-being of players," Professor Andrew Przybylski, the lead author of the study said.
Crucially, the researchers studied the changes in the behaviour of players by using the actual time data.
The Oxford University team was able to link up psychological questionnaires with true records of time spent playing games. Previous studies had tended to focus on self-reported time playing, which is, the study found, only weakly correlated with reality. The Oxford Internet Institute research also explored the roles of player experiences, specifically how feelings of autonomy, relatedness, competence, enjoyment and feeling pressured to play related to well-being.
Przybylski said: "Previous research has relied mainly on self-report surveys to study the relationship between play and wellbeing. Without objective data from games companies, those proposing advice to parents or policymakers have done so without the benefit of a robust evidence base".
The study used telemetry data and survey responses from 518 players of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and 2,756 players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The surveys were conducted in August and September (Plants vs. Zombies) and October (Animal Crossing).