Video games and their social impacts

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Video games and their social impacts

The video game industry has grown and become another aspect of pop culture. However, the question arises, “What is the impact of video gaming on society?” There are two main answers given. The first is that video games are harmful because of their violence and the second that video games are beneficial because of their educational side. Both theories have research that back them up.

Rejection of reality

Video games can partly achieve the goal of living in a fantasy world. Being able to escape from life into one in which you can manage the environment has been attractive to many people. The downside has been addictions to video games such as The Sims, online games or some RPGs. The ease of dealing with social problems such as low self-esteem in a virtual world is one of the reasons why some experts think these sorts of video games can be addictive. An example of this rejection of real life is referred to in the book Ready Player One.

Addiction and stress management

Video game addiction can create problems connected to a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity and isolationism can cause various psychological and physical problems. Some players have died from heart attacks or other illnesses because of continuing to play for too long.

Encouragement of violence

The most serious criticism of the video game industry is that it encourages violence. Many video game plots refer to violence, some of the titles try to create a story about good and evil by placing the player on one of the two sides which can lead to very graphic scenes.


There are games that forget the title of hero or heroine and handle violence in a more worrying way. Games like Hatred, Alicia Croft, Border Patrol or Manhunt reflect high levels of violence that in some cases have themes of xenophobia and misogyny. There have been cases of imitation, a situation that has also occurred with the film industry.


Some video games have different paths or endings depending on the choices the player takes. Online gaming sites such as in Japan provide the added element of prizes or losses.

In some video games players are shown that their choices have no turning back and have consequences. For example in Undertale, there is an end called “pacifist” that encourages players to dialogue with their rivals and avoid conflict. This game is not the only one that gives “achievements” for not harming anyone in the course of the game.

Many games are based on history literature which teaches players about these. With this way of self-learning, the player learns with real names and facts about a story and can analyse from other points of view. Games like Valiant Hearts: The Great War and Call of Cthulhu: The Official Videogame can increase viewers’ interest by bordering them to find more information on the subject.

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