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Are Video Games Bad for Your Health?

In the early 2000s, dubious evidence against video games was heavily promoted and sensationalized. According to Christopher Ferguson’s overview on the debate about video games, anti-media advocates, some scholars, and professional groups banded together to connect and publicize questionable claims about gaming.

The damage this caused on video games’ collective reputation sent a chill throughout the industry, which was felt for quite some time.

But over the years since then, more and more studies have emerged to debunk those claims and shed further light on gaming’s effects on players and everyday life.

The first argument points to video games being a waste of time. The complaint is that people tend to spend too many hours on video games rather than on other, more productive activities.

Although, playing video games isn’t considered a waste of time for many people, particularly those who plan to pursue gaming-related careers. Because unlike a decade ago, there are now clear paths available to gaming jobs.

For instance, the National Association of College Esports has helped facilitate $16 million in esports scholarships as of last year. Meanwhile, schools like New York University offers a gaming scholarship to students who are interested in working in the gaming industry and are active in the community.

Another point against games is on their graphic portrayal of mature content. People claim that these games can influence players negatively and promote aggressive behavior in real life.

However, CNN reports that psychology experts found no such link between video games and violent or antisocial behavior. One study even suggests that video games can be an outlet for people to channel their aggressiveness, which can then help reduce their bad behavior on a societal level.

So what can you gain from playing video games?

Well, a few studies show that there are several useful skills that are improved when you play games. IFL Science compiled these studies and explains how video games can help players hone hand-eye coordination and improve their ability to focus in the midst of distractions.

Depending on the type of mechanics, video games have also been found to enhance memory, provide a good source of learning, and even improve social skills.

The bottom line is: there isn’t enough evidence to support the cases against video games. Right now, there is a growing body of literature debunking negative claims, while also looking into their positive effects.

Alongside this research, gaming is a rapidly growing industry, with Newzoo predicting that it will reach $180.1 billion in revenues by 2021. Its massive presence in the market is thanks to a variety of industry leaders. For instance, the gaming company King has accumulated a net worth of $5.69 billion thanks to its ever-popular mobile game Candy Crush.

In addition, gaming giant Ubisoft has established offices in several countries around the globe, including the US, Canada, Japan, France, and the UAE. Meanwhile, Gaming Realms is also going strong after 20 years of operations.

Its flagship brand is desktop and mobile gaming portal Slingo, which is a testament to the company’s goal of licensing and developing their own games rather than simply operating them. Titles like Love Island Instant Cash, Slingo X Factor, and Planet of the Apes are the products of Gaming Realms’ partnerships with enterprises behind popular entertainment franchises. This shows how easily gaming can crossover to other industries, which can also help explain its rapid expansion.

With massive gaming studios that offer plenty of jobs and an esports scene that continues to grow, it’s evident that the views toward video games are changing. Video games really aren’t as bad as people once made them out to be, and with more and more people realizing this as technology also progresses, the future is definitely bright for the industry.