Students Succumb to Allure of Gaming During Pandemic



Information compiled by The Hollywood Reporter and Nielsen reveals that the time Americans spent playing video games during the COVID-19 pandemic in March increased 45 percent. (MCT/Michael Bonner)

As more and more people turn to video games to relieve boredom, gaming companies are seeing an increase in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 began spreading across the world in early 2020, leading to the closure of businesses, schools, houses of worship and other institutions. American students, including those at Warren Hills, quickly began turning to video games as a way to cope with the stresses of uncertainty and the increase in free time.

As a result of the international pandemic emergency, gaming companies are gaining customers and profit worldwide with multiplayer game titles like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,” “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” and “God of War.”

A recent gaming software market report, “Gaming Software (COVID-19 Impact) — Thematic Research,” mentions a 39 percent increase in global mobile game downloads.

I normally spend maybe three to six hours gaming. It has increased immensely because that is one of my only ways to talk to friends,” said one Warren Hills sophomore student, whose name was not revealed, during an online survey.

Quarantine and social distancing have forced many students to find other ways to virtually hang out with friends, and gaming has been one of the most popular methods.

“I spend probably about three to five hours a day gaming now, while before quarantine I spent probably that same amount of time, but in a week,” said another unidentified Warren Hills student, a junior.

With not as many responsibilities, it has become much easier for people to lose track of time doing day-to-day activities.

I spend an average of six hours of gaming a day. However, before school closed [on March 16], I gamed zero hours on weekdays and three to four hours on the weekend,” said sophomore Bryant Aguirre.

“[Gaming] has greatly decreased my stress from school work. Some of my teachers do not follow the three-hour work rule,” said Warren Hills sophomore Dhruv Dave.

Many students are starting to turn to gaming as a way to relieve the stresses accompanied with online schooling, and this tendency is not limited to only Warren Hills students.

“Sometimes it has caused me to procrastinate, but I haven’t let it completely get in the way of doing my school work,” said Michael Pintar, a junior at Phillipsburg High School, which, like Warren Hills, is located in Warren County.

The closure of schools has tempted many students to put down their schoolwork and pick up the controller. It is proven to be a huge distraction, as well as a huge reliever of stress.

Games can help students improve their focus, but not always in the way parents and teachers would like. 

“I have spent about $120 on games during quarantine,” said a senior at Warren Hills, who, like other students worried about publicly revealing their game spending habits, asked not to be identified for this story.

Gaming during quarantine has taken a major toll on people’s wallets. The public perception is that gaming companies are also attracting more attention from students when the students should be doing their schoolwork.

“I don’t know the exact amount of money I spend but it’s definitely higher than it was when I was in school,” admitted a Warren Hills sophomore.

Many schools strictly blame procrastination for the number of missed assignment deadlines when, in reality, it could be the video games taking away students’ focus.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have spent roughly around $200 on gaming-related stuff,” admitted a Warren Hills freshman. “I think gaming is very important for this time in history. It provides people of all ages with an escape from current events, while allowing them to have fun without leaving their own home.”