3 billion hours, both children and adults are consumed by the amusement of video games. Obviously, having fun is why we play, but why are the games fun?
Recent research has shown that the appeal lies in how video games allow players to adopt desired personality traits, which in turn bolsters their self-esteem. Studies have investigated the idea that many people enjoy playing video games because it gives them the chance to “try on” characteristics they would like to have as their ideal self.Much research on video games has concentrated on the possible harmful effects, ignoring the simple question of why people actually want to play them.
A key finding in the current study is that having the ability to virtually change identity and acting through the identity (be it hero, sports star, villain, or a different gender) makes people feel better about themselves and less negative. Researchers found that the enjoyment element of the video games seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self.
The suggestion that people are using video games as a positive, self-esteem builder instead of a way to escape from themselves is itself significant.