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Animal Crossing: New Horizons used in new Oxford University study to show that “playing games is positively associated with wellbeing”

Posted on November 16, 2020 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Random, Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Playing games in 2020 has become more popular in ever due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many are choosing to stay indoors, which means entertainment options are a bit more limited than usual. The good news is that, based on a study from Oxford University involving over 3,000 people, “time spent playing games is positively associated with wellbeing.”

The study is based on industry data on actual play time for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. It indicates “that experiences of competence and social connection with others through play may contribute to people’s wellbeing” and “those who derived enjoyment from playing were more likely to report experiencing positive wellbeing.”

Professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, and lead-author of the study, 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.

Our findings show video games aren’t necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors which have a significant effect on a persons’ well-being. 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.

Working with Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America we’ve been able to combine academic and industry expertise. Through access to data on peoples’ playing time, for the first time we’ve been able to investigate the relation between actual game play behaviour and subjective well-being, enabling us to deliver a template for crafting high-quality evidence to support health policymakers.”

There were some key findings from the story, including how the “actual amount of time spent playing was a small but significant positive factor in people’s wellbeing” and “a player’s subjective experiences during play might be a bigger factor for wellbeing than mere play time.” Additionally, “players experiencing genuine enjoyment from the games experience more positive well-being” and “findings align with past research suggesting people whose psychological needs weren’t being met in the ‘real world’ might report negative well-being from play.”


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