The millennial readers here can probably relate to this, but it’s unexpected nonetheless. Who thought the stereotype of ‘kids these days’ always being on their phones actually not being entirely true since millennials are actually gaming a lot more than them? ExpressVPN’s study showed that people aged 20-40 years old are actually a lot more invested in their gaming, which certainly came as a surprise to me.
I mean, you can’t really blame them, though, right? Millennials that have been gaming since the days of Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros know just how far gaming has come, and it’s gotten better in almost every way, so of course, they’re the bigger gamers!
But surely, there are consequences to this, and not all of them are going to be something we want to hear. Regardless, I believe it’s a necessity to know and understand these things so we can understand them better and become healthy gamers! (Dr. K fans, where you at)
Gaming Affects Gamers’ Lives to the Point of Addiction
Now, this isn’t entirely news since Internet Gaming Disorder is an actual, recognized condition by the World Health Organization (WHO) and affects a lot more gamers than we might think. The survey from ExpressVPN found that the number of millennials addicted to gaming is 66% more than the number of Gen Z gamers (5% vs. 3%, respectively).
Research has shown that some gamers may be more vulnerable to developing addiction, such as those who have pre-existing mental health conditions, experience high levels of stress or anxiety, have a tendency towards impulsivity, or lack social support.
I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not addicted!” And that’s perfectly valid. Along with all the information from the survey, it is important to note that not all gamers who play frequently or for extended periods of time will develop an addiction. Personally, I think it’s best to be as critical of ourselves as we can be when trying to define whether we’re addicted to something, regardless of whether we’re able (or willing) to stop it.
A Male-Dominated Industry
This one hit home for me since I’m a male gamer, and about 99% of all my gaming friends are male. Gaming has long been considered a male-dominated activity, and to some extent, that still holds true today, though there have been significant strides in the way of making gaming (and especially esports) more inclusive for women.
In the survey from ExpressVPN, women respondents said they actually felt worse about excessive gaming than men. At the same time, they were also more inclined to reduce the amount of time they spent doing it, similar to men.
In my experience, gaming is a way for me to connect with my friends. In a way, it’s really no different for me than the days I spent as a kid playing football in the street with my friends. It’s a social activity, for sure, and I’ve found myself feeling fairly isolated on days when none of my friends were able to make time for gaming.
The Effects of Gaming on Gamers
We’ve discussed addiction, and we’re all quite familiar with just how harmful that can be for a person, regardless of what the addiction may be. However, gaming has other effects that are worth noting too, and these occur in isolation from whether you’re addicted or not.
In their survey, ExpressVPN found that 13% of all gamers (men and women) felt irritable and anxious, about 8% felt sad, and most surprisingly, 23% felt bored. But I thought the point of gaming was to have fun.
When I stop to think about it, I’ve often found myself feeling bored, even when I’m playing my favorite games. For my fellow competitive gamers out there, think about playing unranked matches by yourself for about 2 hours straight. It just doesn’t sound fun, right? My friends seem to feel the same way, just due to the fact that there’s nothing “at stake.” This has ruined a lot of single-player games, not just for me but for a lot of other competitive gamers out there, too.
Mobile Gamers Represent!
Another kind of surprising finding from the survey: mobile gaming is the most popular form of gaming! It’s one of those things where when you stop to think about it, it kinda starts to make sense; everybody has a phone, and most phones these days are powerful enough to play games, and it’s a commitment-free way of playing.
Mobile gaming is followed closely by consoles and PCs, though, so don’t consider yourself a boomer just yet! By far, the smallest percentage of gaming happens in VR, which makes sense since it’s pretty “first-gen” technology that needs a ton of investment, and the experience can be mixed for many people.
What do you think about these facts? I’ve heard a lot of opinions from my millennial gaming buddies, and I’d love to hear what Gen Z thinks about this! Let us know your thoughts and how gaming has affected your life. That’s all for today, and until next time, we wish you happy and healthy gaming!