It's certainly a welcome change to see gaming not responsible for just about every world's ailment, and the latest Oxford University study found video games to be beneficial for a change.
The study was based on a survey of more than 6,500, with more than 3,000 sharing telemetry data on their playtime. Interestingly, the researchers focused on Electronic Arts and Nintendo only, or more precisely, Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Now, it's well worth noting that Animal Crossing: New Horizons served as the basis for most survey responses and data sets, which shouldn't be surprising given its widespread popularity.
Ultimately, the results showed that those who played these games, especially those who had some success in them, felt better about the games and themselves.
"We found a small positive relation between game time and well-being for 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", the study reads.
Now, the researchers themselves admit that deeper studies are required, with hard data on the effects of game time on mental health, before they're used as grounds for policymaking.
Nevertheless, the study has found that players who played more in the two weeks reported experiencing "higher well-being".
Interestingly enough, both EA and Nintendo found themselves in the list of most relaxing games in another study, one which looked at heart rate changes in 30-minute sessions. The Sims and Animal Crossing turned out to be the most relaxing games around, so maybe there's a pattern here.