For many of us, being told to stay indoors at all times means putting our social and leisure activities on pause. But if you’re into gaming, it’s quite the opposite.
Gaming used to be considered as an activity done by yourself, in your bedroom, backlit by the TV, withdrawn from the real world. However, modern day gaming is very different.
Although you can play many of the biggest selling games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fortnite and Animal Crossing by yourself, their multiplayer capabilities make them easy and enjoyable to play together with friends and family.
It’s not surprising that video game purchases have increased massively since the coronavirus lockdown began, leading to a sharp rise in hours being spent online.
Usually, these statistics would be a cause for concern, but we’ve had a look into the ins and outs of gaming and whether it could, actually, be good for your mental health during lockdown.
Gaming and your mental health
Even asking the question, ‘could gaming in coronavirus lockdown be good for your mental health?’ seems bizarre when we think about the conversations we tend to see between mental health and gaming.
In 2018, the World Health Organisation created the term ‘gaming disorder’ and added it to their 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Gaming disorder refers to, in short, gaming taking over a person’s other interests in life for over 12 months with addiction continuing to worsen despite negative consequences.
Don’t panic though. Gaming disorder is very unlikely to be present in the average gamer and has also not been widely accepted as a legitimate disorder by many other mental health experts.
So how can it be beneficial?
Communication and collaboration, are the two main positives that gaming brings to the table during lockdown. It gives people the opportunity to reconnect with their peers, achieve goals together and generally keep in touch during this difficult time.
It works as a great replacement for outdoor activities that are not currently possible given the circumstances. For example, your Sunday league football club could download FIFA 20 and set up a virtual team. There are game modes on FIFA 20 that allow your whole squad to make their own customer character and play on the same pitch at the same time. It’s as close as you can get to the real thing without having to stick on the shin pads and lace up your boots.
Maintaining strong relationships is crucial for good mental health. When you play together online, you have the opportunity to chat away to friends and family, and have a collective purpose. Achieving something with your peers through a game can create positive shared experiences and help bring people closer together.
And to top it all off, gaming helps you stay indoors during lockdown and has even been encouraged by the World Health Organisation!
It is important to remember though that gaming, like a lot of things in life, is all about control about moderation.
What are the best games to play in lockdown?
The gaming industry itself has become an economic powerhouse, bringing in annual revenues equivalent to over £120 billion. Yes, billion, per year. That’s more than Hollywood and the music industry combined!
This means there’s a million and one ways to play and games to get stuck into. You can play on your phone, laptop, or games console. Here is a little list of some of the ways you can implement gaming into your lockdown life.
Fortnite: In 2019, Fornite had over 250 million players and was particularly revolutionary as it was free to buy. That’s right, it cost you a whole zero pounds to download and play one of the most popular games of all time. And that remains true to this day. So if you fancy yourself as the king of the battlefield, have a go at Fortnite.
Pokemon Go: Although it may be past its peak in terms of popularity, Pokemon Go can really spice up your hour of permitted exercise. If you need motivation to go on a walk, take your phone with you and explore the Pokemon world as you go.
Minecraft: Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world and does a particularly good job at appealing to a wide age range. It encourages people to play together and build an environment creatively. There’s very little competitive element to the game so it’s perfect for people wanting to play casually and have fun.
Animal Crossing: Animal Crossing is one of the biggest selling games in 2020 so far. It's a social simulation game where users live in a virtual, artistic reality, look after their own home, go fishing for food, visit their friends, and pay off their virtual mortgage. The game can be played by all ages and has no real end so you can play for as long as you'd like.
Nintendo Wii Fit and Wii Sports: It may have been a while since you took to the Wii Fit board and got some good solid yoga in, but there’s no better time to whip it out and bring the studio to your front room.
The same goes for Wii Sports. It’s a family classic and is perfect for getting everyone from toddler to grandparent down to the virtual tennis court after Christmas dinner. Both of these games are super enjoyable and keep you active indoors.
Saving on gaming
With great demand comes great opportunities to save. The biggest players in the gaming industry are going head-to-head to get you on their side with the best deals. Here are some of the ways you can play and save some change whilst you’re at it.
PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass
The two heavyweights of the games console, PlayStation and Xbox, have gone toe-to-toe in an attempt to entice gamers in with a fresh way of buying and playing new games.
Described as ‘the Netflix of gaming’, PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass are streaming services that provide a huge library of games for a fixed monthly fee.
It’s definitely worth looking into if you’re thinking of buying a new game as the monthly subscription is more than likely to be cheaper than purchasing the game from a shop. The current cost for PlayStation Now is £8.99 per month and Xbox Game Pass is £7.99 per month. There are plenty of pros and cons to each one, so get stuck into your research if you’re having difficulty choosing.
Steam is free to download and is the all-in-one place to go for playing and talking about games. Steam is predominantly used on a PC, so if you have a laptop but aren’t interested in buying a games console, Steam is your best option for gaming during lockdown.
Steam has thousands of games that you can download and is constantly updating its deals and savings section. It also has a multitude of free games so you can play for no cost at all.
Due to the immense popularity of the gaming world, there are plenty of places you can go to get hold of all the gaming gear you’ll need.
At Quidco, we thought we’d give you a hand and put all of our partnered gaming retailers in one gaming section on our website. So, whether you’re in the market to buy a game or a games console, a second controller for someone in your house, a headset to speak to your friends, and so on, we’ve got you covered.
You can get cashback with all of partnered retailers such as Microsoft, Argos, and Nintendo, if you shop through Quidco. Follow this link by clicking here to check out all of our brands and the cashback you could be earning.