Benefits of competitive gaming

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I must confess, growing up, my parents were practitioners of authoritarian parenting – Do as you’re told. I was never really allowed to spend much of my time in front of the computer. Having a gaming console at home was out of the question. Their philosophy was very much that gaming is detrimental to my learning needs.

Today, growing research has started to debunk these myths. Experts have suggested that key benefits include boosting self-esteem, teaching perseverance and developing social collaboration skills.

  • First, games provide a natural and controlled environment for problem solving. In these manufactured worlds, overwhelming “epic wins” are more possible, greatly boosting positive psychological effects.
  • Second, games teach individuals the importance of perseverance. Research shows on average, 80% of gaming time is accounted for by “failures”. But instead of giving up, gamers persevere.
  • Finally, studies have shown that individuals are more likely to trust others better after they play a game together, even if the other person here has beaten them.

The positivity of gaming is probably most elaborately illustrated in the Foldit example last year, where more than 50,000 gamers with no background in biochemistry played a 3D game (Foldit), folding virtual proteins in new ways. Scientists suggest that this may well have fast-tracked the process to a cure for cancer. This achievement was chronicled in the science journal: Nature.

While, “saving the world” maybe be one of those rare lofty achievements. More practical and immediate benefits can be gained from playing games in competitive teams. These benefits are much like those for real-world sports.

Particularly for young adults, team sports provide a sense of individual identity and friendship, as well as the opportunity to understand teamwork and value of practice. The development of communication and coordination skills is also critical to future endeavors academically and professionally.

So, a note to my parents: How about a PSVita for my next birthday?

Bosco Tan, COO.

Further reading.

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