Play: It’s More than Fun and Games

February 18, 2020

Play: It’s More than Fun and Games

At the heart of it, video games are fun – they introduce us to new worlds, create characters with avid fans, and engage us in ways that movies and books simply can’t. And that’s worth celebrating. This is especially true in today’s increasingly stressful and divided society, where play has never been more important.

Every day, more and more people of all ages and backgrounds are joining the Game Generation and playing video games to relax, bond with friends, and have fun. And because it’s so entertaining , we may not always take note of the added benefits. Playing video games helps develop important hard skills, inspire creativity and curiosity, and deepen compassion for people who walk different paths. But don’t just take our word for it…

Leading Authorities Across the Globe Support Video Game Play

Being part of the Game Generation means we understand the remarkable power of video games – and have done so for years. But we’re not alone. An increasing number of leading international organizations are realizing the power of play to build more tight-knit communities, help breed empathy and inclusivity, and inspire creative problem-solving. Some authorities and experts are proposing new initiatives to bring more video game play and its benefits to the world.

For starters, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recognized that video games can boost a child’s ability to learn and influence cognitive development. UNICEF’s research concludes that digital technology, including video games, can be a game changer for children experiencing poverty, discrimination, or geographic isolation by “connecting them to a world of opportunity and providing them with the skills they need to succeed in the digital world.” The United Nations (UN) is even considering how video games can be used to educate and inspire action on important social causes like climate change. At the organization’s “Playing for the Planet” panel, thought leaders discussed how youth can be directly engaged in the preservation of our environment through video games.

Other unexpected organizations, businesses, and communities are using video games to solve complex problems and improve lives. Northwestern University, for example, is utilizing “gamification” to aid in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors by designing movement-based video games that help patients retain muscle and regain movement. Meanwhile, GameChanger Charity is helping cancer patients cope with confusion and treatment-related side effects by offering video games as a creative outlet. And in the private sector, businesses like UPS are engaging in the benefits of virtual reality by integrating the technology into training programs.

Video games also serve as a channel for people around the world to connect, grow, and relate in a way that was never before possible. Video games make it possible for those with accessibility issues to compete on a level playing field, sometimes for the first time. Similarly, the Asperger/Autism Network has praised video games for providing a vehicle for people with autism to learn new social skills through exposure to online interactions with peers, cope with stress, and improve motor skills.

It’s easy to see that collaboration is a key benefit of video game play. The Association for Middle Level Education shares that video games provide an outlet to learn the benefits of teamwork without seeming like work. This topic has even been explored by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is working to identify ways in which video games can be used to foster understanding and empathy around the world. The organization has attributed video games to helping increase knowledge of political conflict and share new perspectives that lead to notable changes in attitude.

We’ve always been proud of the billions of people worldwide who celebrate the fun and entertainment video games provide. But it’s exciting to see such a diverse group of stakeholders – NGOs, academics, businesses, and philanthropists – increasingly embracing the power of video games. As more groups around the world catch on and join the Game Generation, the power of play to create a more community-oriented, inclusive, and inspiring world will only increase.