It’s no secret, playing video games does affect your moods. But just how much? An Oxford University study has shared some interesting findings.
The Oxford Internet Institute research focused on anonymized data shared by the developers of both Animal Crossing: New Horizon and EA’s Plants vs. Zombies detailing how many hours players logged in each game. The playtime logs were then linked with a survey that asked the 3,274 gamers over 18 who took part in the study about their well-being.
The gamers were also asked about how they felt about their experiences playing the game. Prof Andrew Przybylski, who led the study, revealed that he was “surprised” by the results.
“If you play Animal Crossing for four hours a day, every single day, you’re likely to say you feel significantly happier than someone who doesn’t,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean Animal Crossing by itself makes you happy.”
But, he added, 40 years of previous research had suggested the longer people played, the more unhappy they said they were.
The academic suggested that one reason for the discrepancy might be that both of these games had social features, in which players interacted with characters controlled by other humans.
“I don’t think people plough a bunch of time into games with a social aspect unless they’re happy about it,” he said.
“It’s like a digital water-cooler,” he added, suggesting the titles both provide new ways to mingle with others online.
However, he said that those who had felt compelled to play – for example, because they were seeking to avoid stress elsewhere in their lives – had reported being less content.
Looks like if you need a pick me up during these trying times, just turn on your Nintendo Switch.
Photo: WILLIAM WEST / Getty