Oxford University study confirms health benefits from Video Games

Oxford University study confirms health benefits from Video Games

Due to an age-old debate on whether or not video games are something that should be consumed by people for hours on end, Oxford University decided to feature a new study to finally lay this argument to rest.

They commissioned more than 3,200 participants to play several games, including Animal Crossing and Plants vs Zombies. Once the players had played these games, the University then provided them with a survey in order to determine whether or not their mental states had changed after the session.

The survey then confirmed that indeed, most participants that played these games were in much better moods afterward and had satisfied quite a lot of actions that help us produce dopamine in our brains.

However, this study is not necessarily universal, considering that the games being played are heavily geared towards having a social aspect and an extremely easy-going environment. Most people believe that both these games are for casual gameplay and a quick rest after a day’s work.

What we really want to know in terms of a net benefit from video games is the effect that triple-A games could have on their players depending on how long their sessions are.

Plenty of data to go around

Naturally, the University of Oxford is not the only entity that conducted research on this topic. Furthermore, we need to realize the difference between nationalities in regards to these games as well, therefore we can’t take Oxford’s findings as a universal answer.

Because of this issue, another study was recently conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in an attempt to identify the net benefit that video games or games in general have over a developing brain. Therefore, most of their research was based on testing toddlers and young children.

Another great factor that they included in their study was the difference between these children. Things like age, weight, gender, and societal status were all considered and factored into the results, trying to map out everything more clearly. But, we need to say that the majority of this research was centered around boys.

Targeting adults as well

Norway didn’t only concern itself with testing children though. The government really wanted to see whether or not video games could potentially impact the behavior of fully grown adults. However, they had to widen the range of the tests they were conducting. What this meant was factoring in games that had some frustrating aspects about them as well as games that included some violence.

However, the most in-depth research that Norway did was about wagering games. These games were very high-risk for people playing them, and the government wanted to know what attracted them to these games, what they felt when losing or winning, and what mood they were in after completing this session.

The primary game used for this research was blackjack. Why this game? Well, because blackjack games are very popular among Norwegians and every other nationality to be honest. But that’s not all of it. Blackjack has this unique feature of appearing to be skills-based when it’s definitely not.

The study found that this game, compared to other wagering games, was much less frustrating for players. Why? Because they believed that it wasn’t lady luck that was cheating them, but because they had not prepared themselves enough to win. So, they would find a reason for their loss, try to improve it, and dive back into the game. This was much more dangerous than just thinking it was not lucky.

How companies are exploiting emotions with their games

Now that we’ve gotten beyond the research, let’s dive into a bit more speculation here before a university decides to look into it further.

One thing we can definitely say about video games is that they have changed the way they’re marketed to adults. It’s not just “fun fun fun” anymore, but things like “fast-paced”, “good-story” and various other features.

However, these games have become much less “addictive” in a sense than they were in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

This was most definitely noticed by game developers, and they needed to find something to spark that addictive gameplay feature again. So, they went to the most obvious solution, Nostalgia.

Research has already confirmed that nostalgia is one of the most positive feelings a person can experience. However, nostalgia on the good old days, when people did not have anything to worry about, didn’t have this much responsibility, and simply focused on having fun, is the most pleasant of them all.

Therefore, games that did indeed have versions out during those early years, are now using nostalgia to bring now fully-grown people back to their games. And it’s most definitely working.

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