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Polygence Scholar2020
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Nathan Su

Bellarmine College PreparatoryClass of 2021Sunnyvale, California

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Projects

  • "Single and Multiplayer Video Gamers: Looking at Their Experiences, Behavior, and Psychosocial Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic" with mentor Andy (Sept. 5, 2021)

Nathan's Symposium Presentation

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Single and Multiplayer Video Gamers: Looking at Their Experiences, Behavior, and Psychosocial Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Started Jan. 30, 2021

Abstract or project description

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in many different ways. One significant impact on daily life was the increased indoor time due to quarantine measures. Data collected suggests that video games have become more popular than ever during these unprecedented times [1]. Whether they played before the pandemic or were just starting to play during, people have been turning to video games.

This study aims to explore the experiences and behavior of those who play single and multiplayer video games during the pandemic. In addition, the mental and social well-being of individuals who played single and multiplayer video games during the pandemic was evaluated.

Data was collected through an online questionnaire distributed to multiple communities via Reddit, Discord, Facebook, and online forums from June 28th to July 29th, 2021. The total collected responses were n=260. 132 participants identified themselves as playing mostly single-player video games and 128 participants identified themselves as playing mostly multiplayer video games.

The results show during the pandemic individuals spent more time playing both types of video games and later bedtimes were observed. Motivations for playing single-player games trended towards decreasing anxiety, stress, and feeling happier, whereas multiplayer motivations tended to trend towards socialization rather than decreasing stress or anxiety. Most gamers report feeling more relaxed while playing, and aggressive behavior was only shown by a minority of participants in both types of games. However, multiplayer gamers did report more frustration and aggressive behavior while playing compared to single-players. During the pandemic, 40-50% of single and multiplayer gamers indicated decreased mental health and 33% indicated decreased social well-being. However, both types of players reported improvement in mental and social well-being while playing video games. More multiplayer gamers reported improved social well-being while playing compared to single-player gamers. Those who self-reported as introverts showed video games had little to no effect on their desire for in-person contact. Playing video games neither encouraged or discouraged in-person contact. However, introverts who played multiplayer games did report playing satisfied their need to socialize.

The survey respondents tended to report having more positive experiences with single-player and multiplayer video games during the pandemic. Results presented video games as a way for individuals to socialize or decrease stress and anxiety. Results also showed that video games are relaxing, and tend to not generate aggressive or asocial behavior in players. In addition, the comparison between the two types of gamers reveals that single-player respondents tended to play for relaxation, stress reduction, and perhaps improvement in mental health, while multiplayer gamers play to increase social interaction and improve social well-being.

Further research is needed to explore the long-term effects of video games during the pandemic after everyone has returned to a pre-pandemic state.