Image of young man playing video games on computer, wearing head

(© Drobot Dean -

NEW YORK — Playing video games may actually help you make real-world friends. Although old-school parents may think staying inside and gaming all day keeps their kids from meeting new people outside, a new study finds the exact opposite. In fact, the average American has made five new online friendships through playing video games over the last 18 months.

The survey of 2,000 adults finds that the average gamer has become so close with their online pals, they’d invite four of them to their wedding! In fact, 39 percent have seen an increase in their friends list since the pandemic began.

Aside from friendships, nearly half of gamers (46%) believe it is important that their significant others play video games – which is understandable since 43 percent dated someone they met through online gaming.

Learning about the real world through gaming

More Than Video GamesSixty-four percent of respondents say they cherish their video games because they make them feel less lonely and have helped them connect with other people.

Just as many respondents add that buying a new video game makes them feel like they’re allowing themselves to be happier.

Commissioned by World of Warships and conducted by OnePoll, the study also revealed that video games have helped six in 10 people learn more about the real world.

Three in four gamers have done some kind of real-world research on the games they play, and 57 percent consider themselves experts on the topics they research thanks to their games.

Other than online games, people turned to movies (73%), TV shows (68%), and music (66%) to beef up their global knowledge.

Gaming and real-world passions

Respondents also found that movies/TV shows (70%) and video games (62%) have strengthened their connection to their real-world passions.

More Than Video GamesFor many, that means playing video games that depict their passions — such as racing games (12%), boxing games (9%), and life-like simulations (9%).

Additionally, over six in 10 (62%) believe their games have led them to explore new goals in their lives.

“Video games belong to everyone. Regardless of your interests, everybody can find a game that resonates with their passions and engage with it,” says Artur Plociennik, regional publishing director at World of Warships, in a statement.

“If you have an interest in a certain topic, like naval history, for instance, chances are you’re already watching videos, reading books and discussing it online with other people. Playing the game enables you to immerse yourself even further while giving you the chance to be a part of a vibrant community.”

Realistic vs. fantasy video games

While many like video games for the learning experience, the research suggests there’s a divide on whether or not games should look realistic or more fantasy-driven.

A third of gamers (35%) prefer games that offer authentic representations of the real world, while 17 percent enjoy more imaginative, unrealistic worlds.

However, nearly four in 10 (39%) prefer a mix between the two major types of games and prefer a hybrid of the two — with 36 percent wanting a plot based on realism and 22 percent wanting non-realistic graphics.

Characters and vehicle design should be a 50/50 mix of the two, according to 33 percent of gamers.

Sixty-four percent add they especially enjoy fantasy games because they can spend time in a world different than their own.


  1. Racing games
  2. Boxing games
  3. Simulation games
  4. Rhythm/music games
  5. Football games
  6. Basketball games
  7. Historical strategies or shooters
  8. Visual novels
  9. Soccer games
  10. Baseball games

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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