The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), in partnership with video game trade associations in Australia, Canada, Europe and South Korea, today released the first-ever Power of Play report. The report highlights the findings from peer-reviewed academic research about the positive effects of gameplay, which are confirmed by a survey of 12,847 active (weekly) players (ages 16 and older) in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey revealed that in addition to entertainment, video games provide players with a number of social and emotional benefits that are shared on a global level.
Having fun is the top reason people play video games (69% of global players), but they also play for a variety of other reasons including to keep one’s mind sharp (36%) and because playing games offers the ability to explore new worlds and ideas (27%). Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) globally say they play video games to manage and/or improve their mental health. In all 12 countries, 71% of respondents said playing video games helps them feel less stressed. In the U.S., 78% of respondents said the same, pointing out that video games also help them feel less anxious (68%) and less isolated/lonely by connecting them to others (53%). Of the countries surveyed, only Brazil had a greater number of respondents than the U.S. saying video games help them feel less stressed (87%) and less anxious (78%).
“The Power of Play report affirms globally what we already knew to be true in the United States: video games have the power to transcend entertainment,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President and CEO of the ESA. “The social and emotional benefits of video gameplay are felt by a global, diverse group of players that build communities and have the power to affect positive change in each other’s lives.”
More than half (52%) of global players say video games helped them get through difficult times in their lives, with that number increasing to 59% for U.S. respondents. Players also agree that video games provide other mental health benefits:
- About 75% of global players believe video games provide mental stimulation and stress relief.
- Nearly two-thirds also find that video games provide them with a healthy outlet from everyday challenges (64%) and help them feel happier (63%). Players in Brazil (83%) and Poland (76%) were most likely to say games help them feel happier, with U.S. players at 71%.
Crossing geographic borders, video games also provide a platform for community building where otherwise not physically possible:
- More than half of global respondents (51%) say they play games with other people online and 38% play with other people in person weekly, with 68% across all markets rating their experience of playing with others – both online and in person – as positive or extremely positive.
- More than two-thirds (67%) of global players agree video games introduce people to new friends and new relationships. This number was highest in Brazil (86%), lowest in Japan (47%) and close to the global average in the U.S. (71%). Nearly half (42%) of global players have met a good friend, spouse or significant other through video games.
- More than three-quarters (77%) of global players agree video games bring different types of people together and nearly two-thirds (60%) say video games create a feeling of community.
People are not only skilled game players, but they also say they have gained valuable life skills applicable outside of the virtual world of video games:
- Nearly three-quarters of global players (73%) agree video games can improve creativity (78% of U.S. respondents said the same).
- Across the world, 69% of players agree video games build problem-solving, cognitive and teamwork and collaboration skills, with 84% of U.S. players saying video games improve problem-solving skills.
- Video games also promote adaptability and communications skills with 65% and 60% of global players agreeing, respectively.
Other noteworthy results from the global Power of Play report include:
- On a weekly basis, people tend to play mostly by themselves (87% globally, 90% in the U.S.) but also make time to enjoy gameplay with others online (51% globally, 52% U.S.) and in-person (38% globally and in the U.S.). Players in Brazil (62%), Poland (46%) and South Korea (45%) are the most likely to play with others in person.
- More than a quarter (28%) of global players say they never use in-game communication functions while just 8% say they always use them.
- Of global players, 75% believe there is a video game for everyone.
Access the Power of Play report at www.theesa.com/power-of-play-2023