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Video games are played by more than half of the population in both the UK and the US (B. I), with the average gamer claiming they own at least 2 consoles and around 18 games. Even more shocking still, the age of the average UK gamer was calculated to be 35 years old, working almost 32 hours a week and either married or in a relationship.
With the stereotypical gamer profile well and truly broken, it’s time to reveal some more shocking truths about the real world of video games and the benefits playing them can bring.
The video game industry is one of the largest in the world and is fast becoming the biggest in the entertainment sector, surpassing blockbuster movie sales by more than double the $10.8 billion made in 2010 with over 1 billion people worldwide play online. Worth $67 billion in 2013 and projected to be worth $82 billion by 2017, the video game industry is only going to expand and develop, which, in turn is bound to create more and more jobs and opportunities.
And that’s not all. Playing video games is proven to have many different benefits for gamers, ranging from educational to social, and it’s time to find out more!
For years video games and those that play them have been given a bad press. Blamed for an increase in violence, anti-social behaviour, obesity and even video game addiction, video games are often slaughtered by parents, the media and those who don’t play, or don’t understand those that do.
While there may have been studies that suggest there is a correlation between video games and the negative behaviour of gamers, recent studies have in fact proved that there is no direct link between playing video games and violence or anti-social behaviour.
So, rather than go over the negative propaganda regarding video games, it’s time to discuss the sunny side of video games: the brilliant benefits that you need to be aware of!
The reality is that playing video games can be beneficial to many aspects of the gamer’s life. It is now being suggested that surgeons can improve their hand-eye coordination and movement precision (which can assist in performing certain procedures) by playing certain Wii games. Italian researchers conducted the study and found that surgeons who played on the Wii for one hour every day for a month performed better than those who didn’t play.
A study into the reading ability of 10-year-olds proved that by getting behind the controller of an action based video games for just 12 hours children read faster and with better accuracy than those who didn’t play leading researchers to believe that video games could help children with dyslexia.
A research trial centred around patients who were suffering from cancer and played the video game ‘Re-Mission’ found that those who played the game took their medication more consistently and were more likely follow chemotherapy treatments than non-game players. They also knew more about cancer and had a stronger belief in their ability to battle the disease.
Other studies have found that the repetitive actions found in video games can train and strengthen the brain and thus improve motor skills. Plus, playing an active game on Wii for 20 minutes has been suggested to be a legitimate alternative to traditional aerobic exercise like riding a bike! Researchers found that middle-aged and older adults and playing Wii Fit regularly were exercising to a rate that fulfilled guidelines for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (or ‘cardio’ to you and me).
A study by researchers at the University of Rochester found that those that were asked to play action-based video games made accurate decisions in real life situations 25% faster compared to those that played a slow-moving strategy game for the same amount of time. It has also been suggested that children and young people who play sports video games often go on to play more real sports, increasing their physical exercise and developing a healthier lifestyle.
Virtual reality video games can help people overcome their fears, phobias and even PTSD as they allow people to come face to face with their demons in a controlled environment. Plus, gamer’s will often research their game’s subject area to gain an advantage which is proving to be beneficial as games are becoming more and more educational in nature. And not only this! It has even been suggested that playing video games in moderation can make children better adjusted and improve their ability to get along with their peers!
There are many more documented cases of video games benefitting their players in a variety of ways, but it has to be said that some of the above examples are particularly shocking! Who’d have thought that playing (the right!) video games can actually make you smarter and more social!
With the video game industry growing constantly, the benefits gamers gain from playing is only set to increase as technology develops and evolves. So, who knows, in a few years from now playing games could benefit us in countless other ways! And, more than that, you may actually be encouraged to play rather than be judged for your (perfectly normal) hobby, breaking the stereotype even further as the world recognises the beauty of gaming.