dice 2011

Three Billion Hours A Week Are Spent Gaming, Is It Worth It?

by Annette Gonzalez on Feb 11, 2011 at 02:00 PM

Game researcher and developer, Jane McGonigal, PhD, took the stage at D.I.C.E. to share recent findings about the physical and cognitive benefits of gaming complete with interesting facts!

McGonigal explained that games are not a form of escapism, and in fact, help power you up in real life so when billions of hours are spent gaming a week, it can do gamers some good. She said the average gamer will have played 10,000 hours by age 21 with 99 percent of male gamers (94 percent for females) under the age of 18 playing five days a week. So what are these positive side effects?

  • Kids who play games with their parents feel a stronger connection with them and also perform better in school
  • Playing "pro social" games like Super Mario Sunshine where you help out the world makes you three to four times more likely to help others in real life
  • As far as music games, 67 percent of respondents in a pool of 7,000 reported inspiration to play an instrument in real life after playing a music game.72 percent of musicians reported spending more time playing real instruments after playing music games
  • Playing as an attractive, heroic character in a video game for 90 seconds will make players more confident for the next 24 hours. More likely to put themselves out there.
  • The second most positive mental activity in soldiers was found after they played games for three to four hours. The most positive activity came from five to six hours of daily exercise
  • Gamers are more likely to have lucid dreams and are more likely able to take control in nightmares for positive outcomes

At the end of the presentation, McGonigal mentioned gameful.org, an organization that offers challenges to game design hopefuls to create a game that fosters positive change. Get the full scoop here.