Earlier reports had confirmed that people spend 3 billion hours a week playing videogames but what kept them hooked to it for so long was unknown, till now.
According to a new research led by scientists at the University of Essex, many people enjoy playing videogames because it gives them the chance to "try on" characteristics that they would like to have as their ideal self.
AdvertisementThe research found that gaming was the ideal platform for people to "try on different hats" and take on a characteristic they would like to have.
"A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self," explained Dr Andy Przybylski, a visiting research fellow at Essex.
"The attraction to playing videogames and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role," added by Przybylski.
The research found that giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during the game and acting through that new identity - be it a different gender, hero, villain - made them feel better about themselves and less negative.
Looking at the players' emotion after play as well their motivation to play, the study found the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone's actual self and their ideal self.
"When somebody wants to feel they are more outgoing and then plays with this personality it makes them feel better in themselves when they play," explained Przybylski.
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.