Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Around 64% of all Americans play video games. Around 3% of gamers are considered addicted. Many might think the majority of people playing video games are kids. However, the average gamer is around 33 years old.
People 18 to 34 years old are watching more of a competitive video game on a weekly basis than hockey, golf, or baseball.
Take a journey into the mind of a problematic adult gamer for one day.
You wake up foggy. You quickly remember gaming last night and regret staying up so late. As you get ready for work, you think about last nights games. You check your stats online and become a little angry when you see the games you lost. No big deal. You know you will have time to rank up later today.
You go to work but are not engaged. You complete your responsibilities, but the moment you have some free time, you hop onto Twitch and watch your favorite streamer. They are in the middle of a game destroying some noob. You appreciate the streamer’s commentary and enjoy learning how they play. You want to play like them and the more you watch, the more you improve your skills.
You see a break in your schedule and figure you can play a few games. As you drive home for a long lunch you feel a rush of excitement. You feel your heartbeat quicken slightly when you turn on your computer and log in. You almost feel giddy as you start your first game and take in the familiar environment of the virtual world.
The first game is not so good. You are rusty and need some time to warm up. The second game goes much better. You have a positive KDA and are proud of the plays you made. You check the clock and see you probably don’t have time for another game. You think, “I’ll make it quick,” and jump into one more game before heading back to work.
You drive to work as fast as possible. You sit down at your desk and are reminded of a project that has to be completed today. Your anxiety spikes and the last few hours of the work day are filled with a despite attempt to complete this project. You randomly get distracted by thoughts about your earlier games but continue to work. You complete the project but know it’s sloppy. Another failed opportunity to show your boss what you can really do.
After work, you head to a local bar for some drinks with friends. You are met with anger and shame as you drive. How could you have been so dumb as to forget about that project?! You had forever to prepare for it but ended up doing what you always do, rushing at the last minute.
At the bar, you catch up with your friends. You haven't seen them in a while and hear what they have been up to. As they give the updates, you cant help but feel insecure about your life. They are doing so many good things in the world and here you are focused on a video game. They seem to be so present and in the moment, but you are too focused on your gaming moments to be present anywhere.
You get home and plop in your gaming chair. You log in and see there is a new skin that just released. You had a rough day; you deserve that skin. You then see another discounted skin for sale that you've been waiting months for. You justify the purchase thinking, “I’ll use that skin all the time. Plus, it’s such a good deal.” As you buy the skins, your crappy day at the office and insecurities with friends doesn’t seem so bad. They are almost nonexistent.
You game for the rest of the night. As you are about to go to bed, a friend jumps online and you end up playing a few more hours. You end the night on a positive note. Sure you lost some, but you won most of your games which feels good. Your earlier stress is gone and forgotten.
As you go to bed, you think about your previous games. Images fill your mind with the OP plays you made. You think about those new skins and can’t wait to play again. You feel excitement and tension as you drift off to sleep and don’t realize you’re clenching your jaw.
Your games are fun, but intense. You have to stay laser focused each game. As a result, thoughts about your games leave you feeling tense. You think you’re relaxing when you are gaming, but really, you’re stressed the whole time. Stressed at work. Stressed at play. You feel stuck, but don’t want to stop. You’ve spent so much time and energy on this game; you can’t just stop playing. Besides, it’s just a hobby. Some guys play golf or do fantasy football, I game. What’s so wrong with that?
You wake up. Foggy.