Time spent playing video games is unlikely to impact well-being

Matti Vuorre, Niklas Johannes, Kristoffer Magnusson, Andrew K. Przybylski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Video games are a massively popular form of entertainment, socializing, cooperation and competition. Games' ubiquity fuels fears that they cause poor mental health, and major health bodies and national governments have made far-reaching policy decisions to address games' potential risks, despite lacking adequate supporting data. The concern-evidence mismatch underscores that we know too little about games' impacts on well-being. We addressed this disconnect by linking six weeks of 38 935 players' objective game-behaviour data, provided by seven global game publishers, with three waves of their self-reported well-being that we collected. We found little to no evidence for a causal connection between game play and well-being. However, results suggested that motivations play a role in players' well-being. For good or ill, the average effects of time spent playing video games on players' well-being are probably very small, and further industry data are required to determine potential risks and supportive factors to health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220411
Number of pages13
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • video games
  • well-being
  • play behaviour
  • human motivation


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