A new study by the Oxford Internet Institute has made the by-now obvious observation that video games are good for you, and in fact make you happier. The video game study made use of two particular games, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville during research.
A total of 3,247 gamers that were all over 18 took part in the survey, and mentioned that after four hours of playing they felt happier than they normally were. These findings are in spite of previous studies that said that the longer you played video games, the more unhappy you were.
It’s likely that the reason for the differences in results were that Animal Crossing and Plants vs Zombies both included social aspects. Plants vs Zombies lets you play with other players in multiplayer to accomplish a common goal, while Animal Crossing lets you decorate and customize your island and go to visit islands owned by your friends.
Animal Crossing in particular experienced a huge degree of success due to coming out during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the bright colors, placid atmosphere, and ability to still stay in contact and play with your friends, caused it to sell a huge amount of copies.
At the same time, the video game study does bring up a few issues with the study. If the players feel like they’re compelled to play, such as having to escape from stress elsewhere in their lives, they feel less content by playing it.
Of course, Animal Crossing and Plants vs Zombies are only two video games that a video game study could be used, so the Institute is urging other developers to take similar surveys for their own players to help broaden the study and give them more material to work with, as if psychologists are studying every playground in the world. And with all the other studies claiming the beneficial effects of video gaming, one more is always good.