A new study suggests that when we game, we may not be gaming just for fun. Researchers surveyed 1,000 millennial-aged gamers about why they game and how it affects them. 55% of them said they gamed because it helps them de-stress.
Also interesting - 47% of them said that if they game well, there are positive effects that extend beyond the game itself, into their real lives. Apparently, pwning n00bs gives you a rosier outlook on life.
The survey was conducted by by the Dave TV channel. It also revealed that the majority of gamers also game socially, meaning they're a member of a clan. In fact, a full sixty percent of the people surveyed said gaming was a central part of their social lives. Even more interestingly, about a quarter of them said that gaming made them more friends than anything else in their lives.
According to the survey respondents, the highs of gaming can be higher than normal life. 42% said they're at their happiest when they're gaming.
So if you feel self-conscious about how much you game, there's a chance that it may actually be good for you. There's been a slew of studies, both casual like this one and properly scientific, that show video games may have multiple benefits for mental health. There is also, of course, a countervailing body of evidence that suggests it may not be.