Reduction in Stress When You Play Casual Games

Casual games can get a bad rap, but research has consistently shown that they can dramatically reduce depression and relieve stress. Since 2008 researchers at East Carolina University have consistently demonstrated these effects.

Their results have been pretty conclusive showing that casual games like Peggle can reduce stress by up to 54% and improve mood by 573%. Granted, this study only measured subjective reports of mood, and Peggle's developer, PopCap, underwrote it but their conclusions are supported by a few other studies reporting similar results.

A similar study conducted with Wii Sports at the University of California, San Diego, found a "50-percent or greater reduction in depressive symptoms." The National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veteran's Affairs funded that study.


All of the research surrounding casual games and mental health highlight that the simple goals and encouragement that these games provide are key to seeing the mood-boosting effects. The UCSD study was also looking at ways to encourage senior citizens suffering from certain kinds of depression to exercise more frequently and consistently.

Well, knowing that, I think I'll go play a few rounds of Peggle 2.

You're reading Numbers, a blog on Kotaku that examines games and culture through the lens of math and statistics. To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @dcstarkey.