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Published On: Tue, Mar 19th, 2019

Casual Gaming’s Positive Effects on Individuals and Society

It’s not known how casual gaming came to have such negative connotations and why casual gamers are subjected to the same level of disgust as would fans of Kanye West. Gamers view them in the most derogatory manner, as lower-class humans ruining the industry with their mere presence. So, just who are these casual gamers? They are installing and downloading apps from great sites, like 9apps.

They’re the ordinary people who play Candy Crush and Bejeweled on their smartphones, Farmville on Facebook or Slither.io on their iPads. They don’t spend all of their time and money on gaming, games are not the dominant forces in their lives and they are female.

The hostility hardcore gamers feel towards them is unwarranted. After all, a big majority of people who play games belong to the category of casual. And the game-playing has shown increased development in the cognitive, psychological and social aspects on individuals and society as a whole.

A study on more than 10,000 adults done by the Psychology Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst showed that while the primary reason for casual game playing was competition, they also felt that playing was beneficial in terms of stress relief, sharper perception, improved memory and better visuospatial abilities.

In a broader study by Radboud University in The Netherlands where the subjects were teens and children, the researchers focused on the benefits of gaming to present a more balanced perspective. The bulk of studies conducted had focused on its negative outcomes. The researchers found that the beneficial effects were seen in four areas of development: cognitive, motivational, emotional and social. What they further found was that different types of games had different outcomes in development.

Here are the positive effects of casual gaming on the individual:

Better Real-World Problem Solving Skills

Almost all genres of games, from simple puzzles to the complex action sequences that need analytical thinking, help to develop problem-solving skills. In addition, many of these games do not give detailed instructions for in-game problems; hence, players have to attempt a wide range of options to find solutions. Casual gaming promotes more focused attention so that irrelevant information is filtered out more effectively and resolution of a problem is faster.

Flappy Bird gameover screenshotBetter Motivation to Succeed

Games provide players with instant feedback for their efforts and immediate rewards for successful moves. This is an illustration of psychologist Carol Dweck’s theory that children who are told that their abilities are the result of their continuing efforts will become more motivated and consequently, more successful than children who are told that their intelligence is innate.

Gamers have a higher level of motivation because they see that their engagement in the game is directly proportional to their achievements and failures are perceived as only temporary setbacks. An attitude of persistence and effortful engagement is a predictor of good academic and professional performance.

Enhanced Emotional Well Being

People often turn to casual gaming to have fun, thereby eliciting positive moods and a better state of mind. Games promote enjoyment and relaxation, thus reducing anxiety. There is also the pride of overcoming adversities encountered in-game and this promotes self-confidence.

Another beneficial emotional experience of gamers is the sense of satisfaction following a feeling of being in control and losing self-consciousness. In adolescents, this experience has a connection to commitment and achievement in secondary school, higher self-esteem and less psychological tension. A favorable emotional state is the foundation of well being and supports inspiration and a positive outlook. People play to have fun and if it makes them happy, even if only temporarily, it is a benefit nonetheless.

Promotes Pro-Social Behavior

One key feature of present-day games is their social nature. More than 70% of people who play video games do so with other gamers, online or physically. In these communities, gamers are on the lookout for people they can trust and people they have to avoid. When they see that cooperation, team-playing and support are rewarded, they learn to cultivate these pro-social behaviors not only within the game but also in school and at the workplace.

Even so-called violent games, if played cooperatively rather than competitively, lead to helping behaviors in younger players online and offline. Social cooperative playing of violent games also leads to a decline in anger and hostility compared to playing alone.

Gaming’s Effect on Society

Gaming has influenced society in the areas of training and education by helping workers and students absorb the theories and teachings more effectively if they were taught in the context of game playing. Training simulators allow people to develop the skills in operating high tech equipment without the danger present in a live environment. In education, the technology in games is used in teaching tools because of the focus and engagement it elicits in students. Gaming involves active participation, maximizing their grasp of the subject matter.

The effects of casual gaming are still being studied but present literature has shown that it too has positive effects on players. Maybe then parents won’t be too quick to chastise their kids who spend their time on their consoles.

Author: Lolita Di

Minions Paradise video game photo

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. bullet force says:

    People often turn to casual gaming to have fun!

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