University of Oxford’s Internet Institute said in a study published Wednesday that there is “little to no evidence” of connections between gameplay and wellbeing.
The study surveyed 39,000 video gamers, asking them to rate their mental health and wellbeing, in comparison with the amount of time they spent playing. “The impact of time spent playing video games on wellbeing is probably too small to be subjectively noticeable and not credibly different from zero,” the study said.
Additionally, wellbeing was measured by asking about values such as satisfaction in life, and emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger and frustration.
This is a field of opinion that has been widely contested over time. Many have presented warnings regarding the addictive qualities of video games and their potential harm on the mental and physical health of its players, leading to far reaching health policies around the world.
In China, children are allowed to play for only an hour per day, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
These results contradict a 2020 study.
Conducted by the same department but with lesser resources, the 2020 findings suggested that those who played for a longer duration of time were more likely to be happier, said Prof Andre Przybylski, who worked on both studies.
However, contrary to opinions regarding the potential negative and positive effects of games, the institute through this study highlights conclusive results of zero connection between duration of gaming and its bearing on well being of the player.
“If players were playing because they wanted to, rather than because they felt compelled to, they tended to feel better,” said Przybylski.
This study was supported with six weeks of players data (with consent) from games by technology companies including Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
Overall, the study echoes the opinion of a large number of players around the world.