Video games are helping to promote personal wellbeing, whilst also alleviating feelings of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, according to new research.

A survey of some 3,000 individuals has revealed that almost all (97%) say that playing video games benefits their mental health.

And at a time when people have felt intense loneliness during lockdown, almost two thirds (64%) said that connecting with others via online or multiplayer games had helped alleviate feelings of isolation.

The research has been carried out by pop culture marketing agency Experience 12 which gathered the data from 3,000 people pop culture fans in the UK. 80% of the respondents were aged between 18 and 34 (48% were in the 25-34 year old category; 32% in the 18-24 category). Meanwhile, 58% were male, 38% female, 2% non-conforming and 1% transgender.

Not surprisingly, given lockdown, the number of hours spent playing games has increased over the past few months. 33% of respondents say that during lockdown they have been playing games for more than 20 hours a week; before lockdown, just 14% said they spent that time playing games.

“Lockdown restrictions may be lifting in certain areas, but the nation’s mental health is still a major concern, with the charity MIND just last month revealing the extent that the COVID-19 pandemic has had – and warning that worse is yet to come,” said Chris Whittle, Managing Director and Owner of Experience 12.

“Our research has clearly revealed that playing video games can have a significant and positive impact on both mental wellbeing and feelings of isolation.

Video games charity Safe In Our World is focused on fostering positive mental health wellbeing and delivering support not only for players, but also game developers, publishers and others working in the video games sector.

Leo Zullo, Chairman of Safe in our World said: “This survey shows the vital importance of gaming to billions of players around the world, and to their mental health. To see such an emphatic impact the worlds we create has on our players is heart-warming.

“There is much to do in encouraging those suffering to talk, but to know that games can help and encourage positive mental health, gives our industry affirmation that we’re on the right track. This survey is an essential driver for the research Safe In Our World intends to facilitate”

Whittle added: “Gamers are keen to get back out to events like MCM Comic Con and EGX, with 52% of our respondents looking to attend a convention within six months of lockdown restrictions lifting, and only 11% having taken part in a virtual event during lockdown. But while live events are off the table for now, playing games and connecting with other individuals online have clearly helped individuals through these difficult times.”