Gaming is often seen as a waste of time at best and a negative influence that can lead to antisocial behavior at worst. Personally, I hate these classifications and disagree with the argument that video games are largely to blame for violent youth, as it’s clearly an extremely tiny minority of gamers who go out and attack people as a direct result of gaming. Moreover, there are a number of definite benefits that come from gaming, even if most aren’t ever considered by most people.
That’s why I’d like to publish this piece — to at least bring some awareness to the potentially nice things that gaming can bring you. What follows is input from gamers and behavioral experts on why gaming can be good for you, responding to the following query that I’d sent out on the journalism sites I belong to:
What do you think are the benefits of gaming beyond just having fun? Eg. improving coordination, memory etc. – would like to hear interesting thoughts on how gaming has benefits that most people don’t tend to think about. All comments welcome.
I hope to continually update this piece with more research as it comes in. We’ve already got some great input on the above, and I really recommend having a read through the responses below. The main benefits of gaming that people talk about are the following:
- Boost creativity and problem-solving skills
- Develop motor skills and cognitive abilities
- Improves focus & reaction times
- Team building (not just with strangers online, but with friends and coworkers)
- Refresh & relax in between work sessions
- Spent some quality time with your kids
- Expands your imagination by being exposed to new worlds, stories and creatures
- Develop our resilience, tolerance to frustration and lateral thinking skills
- Possible source of income if you turn pro (unlikely, of course)
- Can teach history (games like Assassins Creed and God of War)
Games in general have a bad rep when it comes to their educational or beneficial value. For me, computer gaming is the most beneficial of all types of gaming, specially compared to a PlayStation or Xbox because of how the controller works. If you are playing on the computer, particularly MMOs, your eye-hand coordination is beyond anything a non gaming person might have. You are playing with a keyboard on one hand and a mouse on the other, pressing numbers for special powers at the same time you are using W,A,S,D to move around and moving your mouse to rotate the camera while using both mouse buttons for other stuff. If you are playing a strategy game, you will calculating movement, damage, positioning for troops... Mathematics, logical thinking, basic reasoning and if you are a hardcore gaming chances are you will be doing a ton of charts to min max your advancement and progress. On the other hand, if you are playing a creative game, like Minecraft, you are exercising your design abilities. There is literally no limit to what you can create. The scale can be as big as you want it to be and as ambitious as you can handle!
--Joe Flanagan, 90s Fashion World
Video games a great for the mind and hand eye coordination. As much as many parents would like to condemn them forveer, they do serve a purpose and there are many studies that show that videos games can be a real benefit to people. There is strategy and team work to games, skills that can be used in real life and in careers and jobs. They also teach skills such as finances and organisation, depending on what you play. The genres all teach something different, so many people are building on skills as they play something new.
--Dr.Giuseppe Aragona, Prescription Doctor
Video games have many benefits - at their best, they can be educational, improve coordination & muscle memory, and allow for healthy competition.
However, I think the most important benefit video games have is that they provide a safe place where kids don't feel judged.
School is difficult for many kids. The pressures of trying to fit in can be overwhelming, and it's easy to go through life feeling like you're always being judged.
Video games are something they can do in private, with no social fears whatsoever. This can help instill confidence, and hopefully help them cope with the real world.
--Max Kimmel, One Shot Finance
One of the often-overlooked benefits of gaming is the constant, expected failure of the players.
Our education system tends to put a lot of pressure on making no mistakes. If you don't get the answer right on the first try during your final, it will permanently affect your performance record. Video games not only allow failure, but they also encourage it.
Why do players fail to defeat a hard boss battle over and over, yet still return to try again? It's because they learn something new with every mistake until they solve the puzzle or beat the challenge. This means video games develop our resilience, tolerance to frustration and lateral thinking skills. Unlike motor and coordination skills, these are easily translated into other aspects of our lives since they are emotional benefits rather than physical.
--Rafael Parra, Spanish Academy
We use gaming with coworkers to help build relationships, trust, friendships and even help induct new members to our team. It's an interesting benefit that not many consider and something I think more businesses could take advantage of at some scale.
As a gaming website the Games Finder team is constantly playing games together, be it at work or after hours and the benefits are clear when it comes to building stronger working relationships. Most notably gaming is a fantastic way to induct new staff members as it often allows for quick rapport building and provides plenty of break the ice moments where you can accelerate workplace relationships.
The benefits of gaming are closely linked to the genre and we find strategy genres are great for developing team work and collaboration while a high risk-reward title can serve as a trust building exercise. For non gaming companies I'd suggest they look into the growing range of co-operative couch and party titles (e.g. Overcooked or Jackbox Party) in the gaming market as they are easy to play and purposefully designed to create funny and memorable moments.
--Samuel Franklin, Games Finder
1. Esports & Gaming for Cognitive Focus: Engaging in Esports is a great way to maximize brain activity, increase critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, memory capacity, and maintain cognitive engagement, regardless of age.
2. Esports & Gaming for Career Preparation: While playing video games, gamers are unknowingly preparing themselves for successful career opportunities in the Esports and gaming industries.
3. Esports & Gaming for Social Engagement: Even during an era of social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Esports engagement has surged. Esports promote social interaction between players, teams, leagues, etc. of varied ages, genders, races, religions, and nationalities. These factors are invisible and irrelevant when gamers are competing against one another, whether they're in the same room or in another continent.
4. Esports & Gaming for Physical Activity/Fitness: Esports provide numerous physical activity and fitness-related benefits, such as: muscular endurance, muscular strength, agility, reaction time, eye-hand coordination, fast hand reflexes, dexterity, and strengthening their fine motor skills.
5. Esports & Gaming As Therapy: Aside from recreational and competitive play, Esports can appeal to a wide audience by serving as a mode of rehabilitative therapy for those who may seek to improve their fine motor skills, e.g. individuals with exceptionalities, geriatrics population, etc.
--Dr. BerNadette Lawson-Williams, LinkedIn profile
They help overcome dyslexia
There has been some evidence that proves attention difficulties as a key factor in dyslexia. After a session of heavy gameplay, dyslexics have been shown to improve their reading comprehension. One reason that experts believe why this happens is because games constantly change their environments, which require intense focus.
They let you make new connections
Thanks to online multi-player games, gamers have found a new way of socializing with other like-minded individuals. These friendships built upon gaming relations can progress into lifelong connections. You cannot underestimate the power of shared interest.
They help improve your vision
According to an article published on National Geographic’s website, scientists have recently discovered that moderately playing video games may improve one's vision instead of straining it.
They produce better leaders
An article published in Huffpost says that games usually reward and encourage leadership traits. Researchers have discovered that this is one trait that many gamers display in their real-world career goals.
They make better surgeons
Researchers are also discovering that gamers make better surgeons. This is because they are able to make fewer errors during laparoscopy (small incisions), as published in a CBS News article.
There are plenty of other health benefits that gaming produces. The ones mentioned above are just some of the most interesting benefits that not too many people know about.
--Sam Whittaker, Gamertelligence
I think one of the benefits of gaming that often gets overlooked is it's ability to teach history! When I was growing up as a teenager and playing games like God of War, Assassins Creed and Total War: Rome, it was actually quite alarming how quickly the information sank in. Even to this day the amount of information I know about Greek mythology from God of War has helped me in pub quizzes! I think in games like these where the history behind the setting is needed to push the story forward, it doesn't feel like 'learning' when you're playing them because you just want to unravel the story as much as possible!
--Brandon Wilkes, The Big Phone Store
One of the least-acknowledged benefits of gaming is teamwork. Multi-player online gaming often requires a group of players to collaborate, set a strategy and then execute it. How they progress through the game - whether they get wiped out, or survive and thrive - provides feedback for the team on how successful their approach is. This is one of the positive benefits of gaming that’s often overlooked.
--Rick Wallace, Tackle Village
Video games require complex cognitive abilities to complete a certain objective. There are numerous research-based articles which illustrate that the video games to develop the brain in a certain positive way and also there are some who say that video games have a negative effect on the brain..
Of course, without a doubt, doing something repeatedly that it becomes an addiction will cause you harm. Following are the top three reasons that video games [if taken into positive way] can develop your brain:
1. According to the ESA [Entertainment Software Association], more than 60% of Americans play video games daily. It's a huge industry with almost every other opportunity for the developers to create an amazing game. According to the optimistic approach, video games do develop your brain in a number of ways. It elevates your mood, energy level, psychological brain development and improves your cognitive ability. Your eye/hand coordination is improved while playing video games.
2. The game designer is someone who has been a gamer for some time. Creativity sparks when you are working on something that is in the virtual world and making it an immersive experience for gamers.
3. VR is something that has been popular for some time because it invites you to a virtual world, where your decisions matter, and your ability to define what you make you stronger. Your brain develops a pattern that an objective has to be completed in order to move forward. This enables you to be more precise on your goals in real life.
--Adeel Shabir, DSRPT
Contrary to popular belief, not all video games are about shooting guns and spamming buttons on your keyboards. I don’t play those types of games, instead I play strategy games and RPG (Role Playing) games. And these types of games gave me my managerial skills.
You see strategy games are very similar to chess and it involves you thinking ahead with the resources that you have and RPG games require critical thinking and it involves using people with different skills and abilities to beat an enemy or solve a puzzle. Both these games are good for leaders or people in leadership positions. It helped me become a better manager and I think other people can benefit from this as well.
--Kenny Trinh, Netbooknews
1) Gaming expands your imagination. When exposed to novel worlds, stories, and creatures, players are developing their imagination as they play through stories set on different planets and in alternate universes. My favorite games that captured my imagination - Skyrim, Call of Duty, Detroit Become Human.
2) A key component of (most) gaming is some kinda teamwork. Whether you are playing squads on Fortnite or Call of Duty, or coordinating a raid in World of Warcraft, the ability to work well with your teammates is a key real world skill I originally learnt largely from playing Counter Strike growing up.
3) Games have had a radical impact on my spatial awareness. In Battle Royale games like Fortnite, sound cues and spatial awareness are important for identifying where the enemies are before you get hit. This hyper-attentiveness has given me more spatial awareness in the real world where I can now notice sounds and sudden movements much more similar to how I would in the game.
--Paraj Mathur, Couch Potato
I can answer your questions from a parent’s perspective since I spend some time to play games with my little kids. In my opinion, there are three major benefits of gaming. It helps to build a bond with your kids. I sometimes use my iPad to play simple puzzle games like Candy Crush with my sons. My goal is not to achieve the highest score from the game, but spend time together with my kids and think about common problems - ways to break more blocks! Because we use one iPad to play together, it moves slowly. But, when we clear a stage, we celebrate together. It helps to improve your kids’ self-esteem. This research (1) tells us that computer games can help to boost self-esteem. I believe that many parents started home schooling recently due to the outbreak. They, including myself, would be able to see how their kids’ learning is going more closely. When kids sometimes feel that they didn’t do well solving some problems or answering questions, their self-esteem might be lowered after studying. In that case, letting them play games they are good at can help to improve their self-esteem. It helps to boost creativity. Many games require a lot of creativity. Minecraft, for instance, is known to improve your creativity (2). Basically it is like you are building something with Lego without any manual. When your kids build something without any instruction, they have to use their imagination and creativity to create something. These activities help to strengthen these cognitive skills.
--Peter Song, Haki Review Mashup
Casual, simple video games can be a great tool for refreshing the brain, especially in stressful or high-intensity work environments. Cognitive fatigue often occurs when an individual’s mental faculties are overtaxed and can lead to anxiety, burn-out, and lowered productivity. Incorporating simple video games into short work breaks is a great way to let your brain relax without completely disengaging. You might be surprised at how refreshed and focused you feel when you return to your work!
--Aaron Smith, Ilyon
What's great about playing videogames (i.e Counterstrike/FIFA soccer) that are team-based is that it allows team-building to happen naturally in a fun scenario that has no connection to work whatsoever. This allows employees to relax and be themselves, which in turn in results in authentic team-building and bonding experiences. The same principles that apply in a fun videogame also carry over to a team's performance in the workplace, which I think is a huge benefit of playing videogames.
--Milos Djordjevic, SaveMyCent
*Boosts Memory Retention*
They have the potential to help you retain certain information. For example, you have to remember certain patterns and then move ahead.
*Enhances Reaction Time*
As games put you into a lot of thinking, it makes the thought process quick. When you play a game, the brain then receives multiple stimulators, both visual and audial. Those who regularly play games can process stimulators faster as compared to others. This is the reason why doctors recommend Dementia patients to play mind games as it helps to improve their cognitive ability.
*Improves Problem solving skills*
Every game has a certain set of rules. This means, players have to carefully think for every move he makes. The split second decision helps in boosting the problem solving skills.
*Focus, Attention & Concentration*
Games have the power to capture a player's attention. This helps him achieve certain objectives by keeping the rules in mind helping him progress to the next level. Therefore, every game requires concentration and attention.
--Nandita Loomba, Wealth Words
Video games are excellent tools for developing various motor skills and cognitive abilities. Aside from that, the birth of networking-type games allows people to create friendships with other gamers in a virtual set-up. Players can also play games as a way to connect with distant family and friends, which bridges the distance between them and maintains their relationship. Because of that, video games are fun, filled platforms that improve people's social skills.
--Darrin Giglio, pvteyes.com
A lot of gamers don’t tend to see gaming as a way to boost creativity in the outside world. Sure, you need some quick and crafty thinking to get around the obstacles of the game, but a 2019 study by Iowa State University
--Jun Ibaraki, Plaza Japan
There is a misconception when it comes to the topic of children and video games. Though many parents see only the negativity that shadows child gaming, there are actually several benefits that allow children to learn and grow in a fun and interactive way.
Video games are great for improving hand-eye coordination as well as problem solving skills. They can also be used to help kids stay active physically and mentally with virtual sports, educational activities, and puzzle games. Some games can help inspire kids to have an interest in history or culture while others can spark their creativity.
Along with all of these great benefits, there is also the opportunity for quality family time. Not only can children enhance their skills and broaden their minds in multiple ways, they can do it while also strengthening the bond with their parents. This encourages conversation and sharing between the parent and the child. When used correctly, video games can be a great supplement to child development, but just like with anything else in life, video games are most beneficial when utilized in moderation.