Whether it is playing online pokies or console video games like Grand Theft Auto, there are mounting concerns that gaming has largely negative impacts on its players. However, a new study by Australian researchers proves that gaming has a positive effect on players by releasing stress and encouraging social engagement.

Jane Burns, a researcher at the University of Melbourne, confirms that gaming can help players relieve stress and provide opportunities for social engagement with their peers. Whereas gaming used to be a solitary activity, multiplayer gaming is now incredibly popular. Players can form social bonds with fellow competitors, which can help to maintain their mental health.

''Moderate gaming can reduce stress and improve health and wellbeing,'' she said. ''It also helps young people form connections with peers because gaming creates a sense of community, mutual participation and a shared passion”. These findings have helped to offset the concerns that parents have about the violence that is depicted in some video games.

While exposure to video game violence is a major concern for parents, it is comforting to know that gaming does have a positive effect on players. Additionally, there is no conclusive evidence that proves video game violence encourages aggressive behaviour in young people. Her study concerns the effects of gaming on young people, but the findings can be applied to all types of games.

Casino games are becoming increasingly social, as gaming operators equip their titles with community-friendly functions. Online bingo sites, for example, encourage players to interact with one another while the numbers are called. This fosters a sense of community among the players. Social gaming will continue to thrive, as we will see more opportunities for players to interact in the console gaming and casino gaming markets.

We hope that this will only further improve the positive effects that players can experience while taking part in their favourite online games.