2020 Mental Health Study of COVID-19 Impact on Gaming Community

Here are the results of a study done by MY.GAMES, Fair Play Alliance, and IGDA about 2020 Mental Health Gamers Study Findings. 64% of video game players in the U.S. said interacting with other players gave them a stronger sense of connection to others during the pandemic.

Today MY.GAMES in partnership with IGDA, the global coalition of gaming professionals, and the Fair Play Alliance (FPA) announced the results of a global survey conducted at the end of 2020. The survey was created to shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting the mental health of the global gaming community. Participants included over 21,000 players from the U.S., EU, and CIS countries who were age 14 and older.

MY.GAMES used its PC titles Revelation, Skyforge, and Warface player bases to conduct the study along with gamers and developers who follow Take This, FPA, and IGDA.  Participants were asked to evaluate their mental health prior to the pandemic, several months into various lockdowns, and presently. The issues of cyberbullying and disruptive behavior in online games were also addressed to compare how these problems were present before and during lockdowns.

“MY.GAMES has millions of registered users, for whom virtual space has become one of the main platforms for communication and recreation during the pandemic. The change in the usual way of life and the increased level of stress-all inevitably left its mark on the players, whose care is our direct responsibility, “commented Elena Grigoryan, CMO of MY.GAMES. ”The study of the psychological well-being of our audience, following the results of the pandemic, is an important step designed to draw attention to the topic of mental health.”

Results from gamers in the United States

  • 75% of those polled said they are well-aware of the concept of mental health, with only 12% unaware.
  • 96% of the participants said it is important to look after one’s mental health.
  • 70% said their mental health was stable before the pandemic.
  • 64% said it was normal in the early months of lockdowns.
  • 65% said it was normal presently.
  • 33%  said they experienced anxiety and other stress-induced disorders at least several times in the past year.
  • 42% said they sought professional mental health help more than once.
  • 63% said they would seek it if they needed it.
  • 96% said they played multiplayer games.
  • 88% open to communicating regularly with other players during play (only 3% said they began doing so during lockdown).
  • 68% of players said they were communicating with other players at the same level as pre-lockdown.
  • 25% said they started communicating more.
  • 36% of the participants said they started spending more time hanging out with friends in games during the lockdown.
  • 64% said interacting with other players gave them a stronger feeling of being connected to others during the pandemic.
  • 9% said interacting with other players affected their mental health negatively.
  • 51% encountered aggressive behavior
  • 57% were insulted
  • 29% were trolled

These findings suggest that playing games and communicating with others provides a positive way to connect with others during COVID-19. Players noted the cost of services as the most significant obstacle to seeking professional help. Serious instances of cyberbullying like being humiliated, harassed, threatened, targeted because of one’s identities, and experiencing personalized bullying or social shunning were noted far less often.

“Having spaces to connect is more important than ever during shelter-in-place,” shared Carlos Figueiredo, the Executive Director of the Fair Play Alliance. “The core of connection is healthy gameplay and more importantly, healthy players. We’re committed to supporting game developers and platforms in reducing disruptive behavior and increasing players’ wellbeing.”

“Across the world, we have seen that multiplayer games have helped ease the pains of social isolation for those who enjoy video games. This study has shown that, while gamers within the US are aware of mental health resources and issues, they are stopped by the costs. It is imperative that we urge the creation of resources and mental health programs within the US to support these needs, or, ideally, provide mental healthcare services to all Americans who require it.“ commented Renee Gittins, Executive Director of IGDA. Gittins continued, “Video game developers must make note that toxicity in-game communities is still an issue for our industry. Moderation systems, positive culture cultivation, and exclusion of the worst offenders are necessary to allow everyone to enjoy gaming. Management of communities is even more important with the increase in online gaming. Management of communities is even more important with the increase in online gaming and its importance in combating social isolation.”

Written by
GLYFE a gaming culture and lifestyle brand. We live to game. Visit GamingLyfe.com for all your latest gaming news, reviews, Esports highlights, live streaming news, Cosplay, and GLYFE Merchandise.

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