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Almost half of all gamers find a good friend or spouse through gaming

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released its Power of Play 2023 report, shedding light on the benefits, behaviors, and interests of gamers. The data was compiled from academic studies and global surveys, highlighting that playing video games serves a purpose far beyond entertainment.

One of the significant findings is that video games play a vital role in supporting people's mental well-being. The study reveals that 71% of participants reported that gaming helps them feel less stressed, and this effect was consistent across various age groups and geographical locations, from Poland to South Korea and beyond.

Gamers also reported skill development through gaming, including improvements in areas such as reading comprehension, communication, and problem-solving.

The primary reason for gaming is to have fun, although Italy stood out with its player base leaning more towards using games to "pass the time." In other parts of the world, including Australia, France, the UK, and Japan, having fun was the predominant motive for gaming.

Importantly, 58% of players worldwide feel less isolated and lonely when they play video games, and 52% use gaming as an outlet to cope with difficult times. This reduction in isolation is significant, especially given that only 51% of players engage in online play at least once a week, and even fewer (38%) participate in in-person gaming on a weekly basis.

Despite 87% of respondents primarily playing games alone, 67% believe games facilitate connections. Brazil leads in in-person gaming with 75% of respondents playing together in person weekly, while Japan has the lowest at 32%, and only 21% play online weekly.

An Oxford University study highlighted in the report suggests that engaging with arts and culture online can improve mental health in young people.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic in the report is that 42% of gamers have made close friends, or even met their significant other or spouse through video games.

ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis emphasized the global impact of video games on players' social and emotional well-being, stating that video games have the power to transcend entertainment and create diverse communities that positively affect each other's lives.

The report also reveals the popularity of hypercasual games, with a staggering 3.5 billion downloads in this genre during the first three quarters of 2023.

Source: by Aaron Astle, News Editor for PocketGamers

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