Recently a British teenager won almost a million in championships of the computer game Fortnite. So what other good news can we find in evidence of the positive aspects of gaming?
The BFI report, “Screen Business: How tax incentives help power economic growth across the UK”, says that the gaming industry directly employs 20,430 people full-time in development, publishing and retail contributing £1.52bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy.
In a 2014 article Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. (2014) The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69, 66-78. summarise the evidence in favour of playing and call for future research. They focus specifically on mental health advantages.
Cognitive and emotional skills
Video Games for Well-Being: A Systematic Review on the Application of Computer Games for Cognitive and Emotional Training in the Adult Population (2018) reviewed evidence from 35 studies which found benefits.
A 2017 systematic review – Neural Basis of Video Gaming: A Systematic Review reviewed 116 articles. It looked for evidence of neural change and impact of playing. It Included evidence of adverse effects. It found some impacts on attention, cognitive control, visuo-spatial skills, cognitive workload, and reward processing.
Better spatial cognition
Bediou, B., et al (2018). Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills. Psychological Bulletin, 44, 77-110 found that domains of top-down attention and spatial cognition were enhanced.
Moffatt (2017) found links between certain types of creativity including flexibility and the playing of games.
Athanasios V. Kokkinakis (2017) Exploring the relationship between video game expertise and fluid intelligence
For further references to articles on video games learning and intelligence try searching ERIC
However for others the playing of games causes harm
According to the latest classification of mental health diseases IC 11 from the World Health Organisation gaming is listed as an addiction.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) 2016 update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) also listed gaming as a disorder in a recent update.