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

  •  Nathan N. Su    


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 video games have become more popular than ever during these unprecedented times (Epstein, 2020).
This study aims to explore the experiences and psychosocial well-being of individuals who played single and multiplayer video games during the pandemic.
Data was collected through a questionnaire distributed to multiple online communities and 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 identified themselves as playing mostly multiplayer games.
The results show during the pandemic individuals spent more time playing both types of video games. Motivations for playing single-player games trended towards decreasing anxiety and stress, and avoiding real life, whereas multiplayer motivations tended to trend towards socialization rather than decreasing stress or anxiety. During the pandemic, 40-50% of single and multiplayer gamers indicated decreased mental health. 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.
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. In addition, the comparison between the two types of gamers revealed 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.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.