97% of gamers say playing games benefits their mental health, according to survey

Video games are being used as a benefit to personal wellbeing, as well as being useful to combat loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown, new research shows.

The research, conducted by pop culture marketing agency Experience 12, pulls data from a survey of 3,000 people. Of those surveyed, 97 per cent responded that playing video games benefits their mental health.

Games seem to have been particularly helpful during the global pandemic, as the COVID-19 lockdown measures separate people from friends and loved ones. Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) said that connecting with others via online or multiplayer games had helped alleviate feelings of  isolation.

Predictably, the amount of time spent playing games has increased in recent months. Of those surveyed, 33 per cent said that they have been playing games for over 20 hours a week during lockdown. Before lockdown, only 14 per cent said that they were spending that amount of time playing games.

80 per cent of those surveyed were aged between 18 and 34 (48 per cent were in the 25-34 year old category; 32 per cent in the 18-24 category). Meanwhile, 58 per cent were male, 38 per cent female, 2 per cent non-conforming and 1 per cent transgender.

“Lockdown restrictions may be lifting in certain areas, but the nation’s mental health is still a major concern, with the charity MIND just last month revealing the extent that the COVID-19 pandemic has had – and warning that worse is yet to come,” said Chris Whittle, Managing Director and Owner of Experience 12.

“Our research has clearly revealed that playing video games can have a significant and positive impact on both mental wellbeing and feelings of isolation.

“Gamers are keen to get back out to events like MCM Comic Con and EGX, with 52% of our respondents looking to attend a convention within six months of lockdown restrictions lifting, and only 11% having taken part in a virtual event during lockdown. But while live events are off the table for now, playing games and connecting with other individuals online have clearly helped individuals through these difficult times.”

The video games industry mental health charity Safe In Our World also commented on the report, with the charity’s chairman, Leo Zullo, stating:

“This survey shows the vital importance of gaming to billions of players around the world, and to their mental health. To see such an emphatic impact the worlds we create has on our players is heart-warming.

“There is much to do in encouraging those suffering to talk, but to know that games can help and encourage positive mental health, gives our industry affirmation that we’re on the right track. This survey is an essential driver for the research Safe In Our World intends to facilitate”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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