Role-playing Makes Video Games Popular

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ESSEX, England, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Many people like playing video games because they can try out other identities, which makes them feel better about themselves, a researcher in Britain says.

Dr. Andy Przybylski, a visiting research fellow at the University of Essex, says he and his fellow researchers wanted to find why people find video games so much fun that they spend 3 billion hours a week worldwide playing them.

The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Psychological Science, finds gaming was the ideal platform for people to “try on different hats” and take on a characteristic they would like to have.

“A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,” Przybylski says in a statement.

“The attraction to playing video games and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.”

Giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during the game and acting through that new identity — be it a different gender, hero, villain — made the players feel better about themselves and less negative, Przybylski says.

The study finds 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, Przybylski says.

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