October 13, 2020
Video games have always been under fire for having a negative effect on children. After all, no one wants their kids to spend long hours in front of the screen.
Yet, video gaming continues to be highly popular among all age groups.
According to Statista, there are over 2.7 billion gamers in the world. Globally, the gaming market with be worth over 159 billion USD by the end of the year. Additionally, as per Business Wire, the sector will further grow 12 percent by 2025.
And while many consider video games to be a waste of time, some genres are known to boost various skills of players. This includes strategy games.
While played by approximately 4 percent of US gamers, this niche has the potential to improve decision-making skills.
Regardless of whether you are playing an advanced AR game or a basic PC game, strategy games require you to make decisions about your actions – something that is similar to what you do in the real world.
Whether it be resource allocation, planning of action, or spending money, players come across various challenges that are applicable to the real world. Here are some ways video games are linked with decision making.
1. Prompting quick decision making
Certain strategy games help people to avoid stalling and make quick decisions.
For instance, Unlimited Gamez Mo, a subscription-based online platform, offers Moles in Holes. In this game, players must create a path for different moles to reach their food before the time runs out. However, no two paths can coincide, requiring quick decision making.
This speed helps in improving spontaneity in real life as well.
2. Driving efficiency in decisions
Apart from speed, one must ensure that they are making the right decision to truly prosper in real-life settings. Strategy games help do so as well.
Since stakes are always high, such games help create emotional tension. The fear of losing urges players to be mindful of the impact of their decision, hence cultivating acute decision-making skills.
3. Formulating Plans
Almost all strategy games require formulations of plans. Whether it be creating a community from scratch in Minecraft or being the last man standing in PUBG, you must carefully plan each of your moves to get the desired outcome.
Planning is an integral part of efficient decision making. And by improving a player’s ability to plan, such games automatically boost decision-making capabilities.
4. Learning from errors
A wrong step in the real world can prove to be very costly. Strategy games act as an inexpensive practice session for many. For instance, the decisions you make in StarCraft will impact your chance of succeeding, but you will always get another go at making things right even if you fail.
This real-time feedback allows players to learn from their mistakes and hence improve.
5. Analysis of actions
Self-analysis is essential for taking the right actions and coming to optimum conclusions. Strategy games best help in unveiling the effects of routes-not-taken. This helps to further hone your decision-making ability.
What the research says
Various studies have been conducted to understand the effect of strategy games on decision making, as well as productivity in the workplace. Here are a few of the findings.
1. 2010 University of Rochester Study
The study discovered that playing action video games, which often involves strategy, helps players in developing a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, which aids in making better decisions, multi-tasking, and navigating.
2. PLoS Research
A study was published in a peer-reviewed journal called PLoS, which found out that strategy games are positively correlated with improved cognitive flexibility.
According to the researchers, the brain networks that support cognitive flexibility can be further tuned by a video gaming experience that involves manipulation and maintenance of different information sources. Strategy games are examples of such experiences.
3. A study by Dr. Irene Scopelliti
A successful decision-maker is a person who is able to avoid all biases when coming to a conclusion about their actions. Potential biases that often cloud judgment include blind spots, fundamental attribution bias, confirmation bias, projection, anchoring, and representativeness.
Strategy games work to reduce such biases.
According to research conducted by Dr. Irene Scopelliti, when video games were combined with traditional training methods, the onset of bias among the respondents was reduced. Playing interactive strategy games reduced susceptibility to the various biases by over 31 percent in the short term and 23 percent in the long-term.
The study helped in proving that interactive strategy games help in providing optimum conditions for effective decision making.
Other Benefits of Strategy Games
While decision making continues to be the most important and fruitful benefit of strategy games, various other skills are honed. Here is a run-down of them:
Often strategy games require you to cooperate and collaborate with others. Even in a strategy game like PUBG, players must form alliances with others to survive. This helps boost the ability to work in teams and reach a common ground with them – something which adds on to the quality of decisions made.
Sometimes a given route or decision doesn’t work as you wanted it to. Yet, players are motivated to keep trying. This helps in instilling perseverance in an individual – a trait that is significant for the overall development of a person.
Right choices can never be made if you aren’t focused on your short-term and long-term goals. Strategy games require you to remember the different plot and strategical details to ensure success. This helps in improving focus.
Playing strategy games offer individuals various benefits in the real world. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, video games, especially strategy, are not just for kids. They are a fun way to learn essential life skills.
So, the next time someone tries to school you about your video gaming, let them know it is doing you more good than harm!
However, at the same time, we would always advise you to play games in moderation. Anything, when done excessively, can become bad for you.
Create a balance and enjoy the advantages of strategy games.
Alma is a mother, wife, logophile and a professional blogger by choice. She completed her masters in English literature from the University of Groningen. Oh, and Alma is incomplete without her cats! Find her on Twitter or check out some of her past work at Muckrack.