Video games started in the arcades as a popular place for both kids and adults to hang out.
When the video games transitioned into the home, they captured even more attention.
However, even with the popularity of video games, some still believe that they are a waste of time and money.
That simply isn’t true.
Are Video Games A Waste Of Money? (10 Reasons They Aren’t)
Time spent playing video games comes with a lot of negativity from those on the outside looking in.
However, the benefits of playing video games outweigh the negative stigma.
Not only are they a cheaper form of entertainment than some other options, but they provide added value as well.
Here are 10 reasons video games aren’t a waste of money.
1. Entertainment Value
Television sets and movie theaters have been around for a long time.
Now, streaming services dominate living rooms.
Each of those services costs money, but they aren’t considered a waste of money because of their perceived entertainment value.
Having a source of entertainment in the home provides an opportunity to relax and forget about any worries the mind might be struggling with.
Video games provide that same sense of relaxation and entertainment, but because they’re interactive, it lets the players become part of the story.
With the amazing motion capture and artistry being used in video games today, they actually rival anything that TV and movies can provide.
Games have won awards for their storytelling, so if movies and TV shows aren’t a waste of money, neither are video games.
2. They Pay for Themselves
In the early days of gaming, Nintendo led the way.
Most of their games consisted of levels that the player fought through which got progressively harder as the game went on.
Nintendo’s mindset at the time was to keep kids playing the games for hours at a time.
They reasoned that, once the game was mastered and everything was learned, they would move on to the next game, so keeping the games difficult was a way to make the gameplay endure as long as possible.
Not that Nintendo’s methods didn’t work, but today’s games have a different approach.
There was a lot of joy in finally being able to conquer the final level on Mike Tyson’s Punch Out or reach the end of Metroid, but video games today are more cost-effective because of their replay value.
The games are structured with different characters, plot lines, and even different endings for some.
This allows the player to return to the game multiple times, so a small investment of the original game price pays off in the end because the game doesn’t grow stale.
This is mostly evident in sports games.
However, the games with massive storylines like The Last of Us franchise also include special extras after the game is completed, so you can go around again.
Plus, the development of Naughty Dog’s “open world” format means playing through The Last of Us 2 (for example) is never the same as it was the first time.
It creates a whole new gaming experience while it’s still technically the same game.
3. Family Game Night
Boardgames or cards used to be the way for families to get together and have a game night.
This is still a popular pastime, but now, a game night can also mean sitting down for a game of Mario Kart or a Mortal Kombat battle.
The Mario Brothers line of games is especially popular for a family affair because they aren’t too complicated to play.
The only extra investment here would be a few extra controllers to allow multiple players to participate at the same time.
To have the entire family enjoying the same activity is rare in this day and age, so the small expense of a few extra controllers is worth it in the grand scheme of things.
4. Learning New Skills
Many video games have a hidden benefit of teaching skills.
Others are very upfront about being learning games.
These types of games either challenge the mind or dexterity of the player, but honestly, even if a game is not listed as an educational type of game, it can teach a variety of skills.
Hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and as mentioned, dexterity can all be improved through playing video games.
This is especially true for young kids who soak up information like a sponge.
There’s also the added element of learning to deal with failure, perseverance, and goal-setting.
Sometimes kids will give up on an activity if it’s too hard, but that usually isn’t the case with video games.
They want to stick to the game until they beat the scene or the full game.
Video games are also great for making a child more social, and that goes for adults, too.
There’s a type of bonding experience that happens when playing a video game and either going through adventures together or battling in mock tournament fights.
5. They Enhance Mood
In the midst of all the soul-searching on why the money spent on video games isn’t a waste, let’s not forget the simple fact that they’re fun.
A study by the American Psychological Association in 2013 showed that gaming can enhance a person’s mood during play and after.
A simple video game like an Angry Birds model can help a person relax and unwind.
Even the more complex story-driven games can become therapeutic.
Players get immersed in the digital world, and for just a little while, they can concentrate on having fun rather than what reality has in store for them.
In other words, playing video games can be a nice break from any stress or anxiety that’s being carried around.
6. Physical Fitness
Exercise-based video games aren’t all that new, but they are gaining in popularity.
The main idea surrounding these types of games is to have exercise be more fun.
A player loses themselves in the midst of the game and often doesn’t realize they’re physically engaged as well.
This format has also found its way into exercise classroom and online training.
You can get in shape in a fun and easy way.
Health and fitness definitely aren’t a waste of money or time.
Now, with a lot of people moving their workouts to their home, having a video game option for exercise makes good sense.
They provide variety for those times when the regular workout isn’t motivating.
The WiiFit started the ongoing trend and games like Dance Dance Revolution continued it.
Even Nintendo Switch has a fitness game called Ring Fit Adventure which can be used anywhere, making it great for travel.
These video games all require the player to get up and move, breaking the stigma that gamers just sit on their butts all day in an unhealthy manner.
Plus, there are some sports games that involve two players which add a level of competition to the fitness goal.
You can enjoy a game of tennis even if it’s raining outside just by using the WiiFit.
The games will track the workout, so players see their progress and improvement.
The motivation alone makes it a valuable asset.
Games can be a source of education and teach a variety of topics.
Companies in the video game field have started migrating into the field of educational video games.
Some of these games have even moved into classrooms.
The games teach everything from math, reading, and writing to history and spelling for younger kids.
Older kids can benefit from games that instruct on money management safely where no real spending takes place.
While the kids are being entertained, they are also learning.
It doesn’t really stop with kids either.
Some adult-focused games are so intricate with their stories that they are full of lessons themselves.
The popular Uncharted franchise has a great deal of real-life history lessons laced throughout the stories.
As the lead character, Nathan Drake, goes around the world to explore and search for artifacts, he’s often talking about real history topics.
It’s compelling enough to be learning or re-learning facts without even realizing it.
8. Sense of Community
Thousands of people are online gamers.
Whether through their computers or their gaming consoles, they are all finding meaningful connections through the world of online gaming.
World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online games in the history of gaming.
It is a massive multiplayer game that’s captured the attention of thousands.
Socialization is a big aspect of WOW.
The gamers interact on the same server, but they can be located across the globe.
Players can join together in guilds and battle through the levels or even just hang out in the digital realm.
The online world of WOW is so massive that players can spend many hours traveling it together.
Gamers find others with a shared interest throughout the game which can give them a sense of belonging.
Many of the players even develop real-life friendships with people they have met through online gaming.
Players develop good friendships with the people they meet online.
There’s also a great deal of support in these online communities.
Players rally together to help each other in the game (something that the real world should learn from).
Millions of gamers hop online to play every day, and they look forward to meeting up with their friends there.
9. Nostalgia and Youthfulness
Video games are sort of like time capsules.
Playing a game you once treasured in your youth takes you right back to the time when you first enjoyed it.
In essence, the nostalgia of the game keeps the carefree days of youth alive.
However, video games can go one step further by helping the brain to stay young and focused.
As we age, memory starts to lapse and focus declines.
Staying on a single task can seem arduous, let alone trying to juggle several.
That’s where video games come in as a helpful option to counter those effects.
A study at the University of California in San Francisco examined the results of a simple driving game.
The players were meant to identify road signs during a drive through an obstacle course.
At first, the results were very low as all players seemed unable to concentrate on both the task of driving and identifying the signs.
However, as they continued playing the game, they showed signs of marked improvement in their short-term memory and long-term focus.
You don’t have to be involved in a study to achieve these same results.
Popping in a game like Gran Turismo will keep your wits sharp and your brain young.
If you prefer a nostalgic touch, I always enjoyed Outrun.
Something about that simple drive from SEGA brought such joy.
10. You Can Make a Living Playing or Making Them
Looking at the early home video gaming system Atari or the simple game of Pong, one could never imagine how expansive video gaming would become.
Even the revolutionary design and popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System didn’t show signs of what was to come.
It wasn’t until Sony PlayStation and Xbox entered the gaming arena did things really start to take shape.
Now, this multi-billion-dollar industry only continues to grow.
It’s not just the big companies that are cashing in on the success anymore.
Consumers themselves are finding ways to earn money through video games.
This isn’t just a little pocket money, either. It could be thousands upon millions of dollars just for playing video games!
ESports and Twitch have made video gaming more than just an entertaining distraction for some gamers.
Playing video games all day has actually become a viable source of income for many players.
That’s the ultimate dream job!
There are even gaming tournaments where players can win millions of dollars in prize money.
On Twitch, gamers receive payment just for allowing people to watch them play.
Granted, it’s not as simple as it sounds.
As with everything online these days, you have to be entertaining enough, and good enough at the games, to keep viewers watching.
If you can crack that code, however, you can garner a lot of money from your own gaming room.
Being a gaming personality isn’t the only way a person can actually make money off of video games.
There are other jobs that pay people to play games and test them for glitches, overall gameplay, story experience, etc.
These are bona fide jobs with salary and benefits included.
Along those same lines, there are other jobs within the field of video gaming such as video game designer, game developer, programmer, animator, and even writer.
Starting out by playing Super Mario Bros can actually lead to a career in the video gaming world with some rewarding occupations.
There are even some gamers who have found ways to create their own games.
Using a game engine and a little coding knowledge, they can create a video game and set it up as a downloadable app for smartphones and computer consoles.
Playing games can actually pay off.
A $50 game can wind up setting someone on a path to becoming an entrepreneur making millions of dollars down the road.
There are so many benefits to playing video games that the small investment it takes to get the gaming consoles and the games can’t possibly be a waste of money.
Those who assume so aren’t looking at the bigger picture of gaming.
They’re simply buying into negative reports which tout sitting in front of a screen all day is unhealthy.
While that’s true to a degree, it’s not the only facet of video gaming.
The video game industry isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, it’s growing, and this is because so many people enjoy what video games offer.
Whether it’s an escape, a sense of community, time spent with family, or just time to relax and unwind, children and adults alike enjoy playing video games.
Is playing video games a waste of money?
When you gain so many other valuable things from playing, it can’t possibly be.NEXT: Is Reading A Waste of Time? (10 Reasons It's Not)