A recent study published by The Royal Society of Oxford found that playing video games has no meaningful link to mental health or well-being. You can read the full published study here.

The study gathered data from over 38,000 gamers over the course of six weeks. The data was provided by seven major game publishers around the world, as well as three weeks of self-reported well-being from the participants.

Participants were majority English speaking from countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.

We found little to no evidence for a causal connection between game play and well-being. However, results suggested that motivations play a role in players’ well-being. For good or ill, the average effects of time spent playing video games on players’ well-being are probably very small, and further industry data are required to determine potential risks and supportive factors to health.

Seven specific games were used for game-tracking: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 5, Gran Turismo Sport, Outriders, and The Crew 2. The games feature a mix of casual and competitive, though I notice a distinct lack of single-player RPGs!

Here is the full Conclusion of the published study:

Policymakers, healthcare professionals and game developers urgently need to know if video games influence players’ well-being. We provided evidence on the causal impacts of play on well-being using objectively logged game-play behavior. Our results show that the impact of time spent playing video games on well-being is probably too small to be subjectively noticeable and not credibly different from zero. Going forward, it is essential to cast a wider and deeper empirical and theoretical net and focus on the qualities of play experiences, in-game events, and players for whom effects may vary. Until then, limiting or promoting play based on time alone appears to bear neither benefit nor harm.


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Eric has been writing for over five years with bylines in Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer and Tabletop Gaming magazine, covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on YouTube. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.