These days, video games have become a very common form of entertainment, with 2471 million (Statista 2019) active video gamers worldwide. Children, adolescents, and adults today spend a great deal of time playing various types of video games. Debates on the effects of video games on people have been continued for decades. In fact, an overwhelming majority of research by psychologists on the consequences of playing video games was on its negative impact (Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2014). However, in this essay, I will focus on the cognitive and social benefits of video games. Furthermore, it will be argued that video games don’t cause violence.
Some people often think that playing video games is intellectually lazy. However, it turns out that playing these games develops a wide range of cognitive skills. Adachi & Willoughby, 2013 suggest that by teaching players to first collect information and reflect on a strategy before trying to solve a problem, strategic games may lead to increased problem-solving skills. For instance, in Dota 2 (multiplayer strategy game, where two teams of five players compete to destroy the other team’s main building, the Ancient. Every player in Dota 2 controls a powerful character called hero), the initial goal of both teams is usually to pick appropriate heroes to counter enemy team’s heroes. To do that, players need to consider the pros and cons of the opposite team’s heroes as every hero in the game has unique fighting abilities and skills. After the hero picking stage, teams devise a game plan, which includes how heroes should maneuver and combine their abilities during battles. In addition, players should think about the equipment that they will purchase during the match because the efficiency of the hero’s abilities depends on the equipment that he owns. Since this process is repeated in every Dota 2 match, playing strategy games may increase problem-solving skills.
Moreover, action video games might have the potential to boost visuomotor control skills, also known as hand-eye coordination (Li, Chen & Chen). These skills allow people to perform tasks such as typing, driving, and playing a musical instrument. In the experiment conducted by Li, Chen & Chen, action gamers, who played at least for 6 hours per week, were contrasted with non-gamers. Participants were instructed to keep a displayed virtual vehicle, which was facing crosswind perturbation, within a straight line. Engaging in this task requires great hand-eye coordination, accuracy, as well as a quick reaction to displayed events. Action gamers generally performed better at keeping the car inside a lane than the non-gamers. This study demonstrates that action games greatly benefit visuomotor control skills.