Video games are often seen as a harmful and addictive pastime, but research shows that gaming can provide many positive benefits for users. It can improve social skills, promote problem-solving, and even boost self-esteem. However, gamers need to be aware of negative effects like sedentary lifestyles and gaming communities that can contribute to a toxic environment. To avoid these issues, gamers should try to incorporate gaming into their daily lives in a healthy way and find positive sources of motivation outside of the game.
Gamers have a unique sub-culture that supports them and their hobby. This community is often misunderstood by non-gamers and some gamers feel segregated from society as a result of their hobby. However, the gaming culture does offer a supportive community for users that can help them through difficult times. Gamers typically play for several reasons including: relaxation, opportunities to exert control, enjoyment, creativity, socialization, and preventing boredom. They may also play for achievement, competitiveness, and stress management.
Researchers have classified gamers into five personas based on their gaming habits. The Ultimate Gamer is the most avid gamer and likely owns all the latest systems and a wide range of titles. They spend most of their time playing games and rarely engage in other activities. They usually have full-time jobs and can afford to buy Day 1 releases. Their top three reasons to play are exploration of detailed game worlds, tactics/strategy, and feeling of adrenaline. Their fifth reason is story-driven gameplay, the only time RPGs appear on this list.
Escapers are mainly motivated by the sense of accomplishment and escapism. They have high impulsivity and low self-esteem and are likely to use immersive gaming as a coping strategy to relieve negative moods. These gamers may have an underlying mental health condition or have experienced a traumatic life event that contributed to their gaming behavior.
Achievers are primarily motivated by their gaming skill and like to compete with others online. They have a high level of social support and are likely to have full-time jobs. Their gaming is a positive part of their lives and is usually balanced with other hobbies and interests. They may have a moderate amount of self-control and are unlikely to develop a gaming addiction.
Enthusiasts are similar to the Ultimate Gamer but they balance their gaming with other interests more evenly. They have more free time than the Ultimate Gamer and tend to be older, often with children. They are more interested in the genres of RPGs and action/adventure, but they enjoy the whole gaming experience and want to have the latest tech.
Casual gamers are a mix of the Ultimate Gamer and the Achiever. They are the ones that spend a lot of time on their hobby and have an average age of 28. They are a mix of both men and women and enjoy gaming with friends. They usually have a full-time job and are able to manage their gaming time well, but they do sometimes sacrifice other activities such as sleeping or going out to socialize.