As first reported by The Guardian, the study focused on just over 3,000 gamers time spent on Animal Crossing from Nintendo and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville by EA. This new report casts further doubt into previous findings that playing video games can have a negative impact on people’s mental health and can contribute to addiction.
Despite playtime being short, the researchers discovered that gaming had a significant positive impact on people’s mental health.
Research also showed that the player’s experience in-game also contributed to mental wellbeing.
The study conducted by Oxford University was the first to use actual play-time data. Previous gaming studies tended to focus on self-reported playing time which can be seen by some as being less reliable.
Professor Andrew Przybylski, lead author of the study, summarised the research by saying:
Our findings show video games aren’t necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors which have a significant effect on a person’s wellbeing.
In fact, play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health – and regulating video games could withhold those benefits from players.
Through access to data on people’s playing time, for the first time we’ve been able to investigate the relation between actual game play behaviour and subjective wellbeing, enabling us to deliver a template for crafting high-quality evidence to support health policymakers.
This report comes as the video game industry continues to dominate media content in the UK. The industry is believed to be worth £3.86bn in the UK alone.