January 23, 2022

New Research From the University of Oxford Finds Video Gaming May Not be as Bad as You Think

From the University of Oxford:

Conventional wisdom has it that too many cooks spoil the broth. But such judiciousness is not usually considered the basis for scientific pronouncements or international rulings on the need to limit the number of people in kitchens. But, when it comes to video games, conventional wisdom, not science, forms the basis for our thinking and even pronouncements from global authorities, according to Professor Andy Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute.


The study suggests that experiences of competence and social connection with others through play may contribute to people’s well-being. Indeed, those who derived enjoyment from playing were more likely to report

According to the research, ‘We found a small positive relation between game time and well-being for players of both games. We did not find evidence that this relation was moderated by need satisfactions and motivations. Overall,  our  findings  suggest  that regulating video games,  on  the  basis  of time, might not  bring  the benefits  many  might  expect,  though  the correlational nature of the data limits that conclusion.’

So, stopping gamers from gaming is not necessarily a good thing. But the research is not a universal thumbs up, or perhaps down would be more correct, for a gaming analogy. Professor Przybylski emphasises the team looked at just two games and 3,000 adult players. But the study suggests there is a need to find out if the ‘moral panic’ over gaming is just that.

Read the Complete Research Summary (via U. of Oxford, approx. 795 words)

Direct to Full Text of Preprint Discussed in Summary: Video Game Play Is Positively Correlated With Well-Being (via PsyArXiv)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.