A paper out of Oxford University, "Video game play is positively correlated with well-being", reports that playing video games makes you happy. The study tracked 518 players of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and 2,756 players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Key findings include:
• Actual amount of time spent playing was a small but significant positive factor in people's wellbeing
• A player's subjective experiences during play might be a bigger factor for wellbeing than mere play time.
• Players experiencing genuine enjoyment from the games experience more positive well-being
• Findings align with past research suggesting people whose psychological needs weren't being met in the 'real world' might report negative well-being from play.
Two rather significant caveats: "This work has not been peer reviewed and is subject to change" and "we collaborated with two games companies, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America."