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September 12, 2013 / KingsIsle Entertainment

The Benefits of Gaming?

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a conference with Dr. Aaron Delwiche and Dr. Jennifer Henderson discussing gaming. Remember a couple weeks back we did a blog about the research the two professors from Trinity University did with over 34,000 Wizard101 players?  There were other professors and professionals on the panel and in the audience.  The overall tenor of the panel was very positive and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations that took place both during the panel as well as after.  That being said there was one topic that came up that really bothered me.  It seems that very little work/research is being done on potential benefits of gaming.  From the conversations I had it seemed that a great amount of academic research and funding was going to studies trying to tie video gaming to real world violence or to uncover the downsides to video gaming.

The reason I found this concerning is because over the last 5 years we have been flooded by communications from our players on the benefits they experienced in Wizard101 (and now Pirate101).  I explained in the panel that we have had thousands of submissions of fan art and fan fiction over the years in an era where creative writing and art programs are being cut from our schools.  I also talked about hundreds of messages from parents of autistic children gushing about how significantly their children have progressed interacting socially in Wizard101.  I brought up the stories of children struggling to read that went up multiple reading levels over a summer while playing because they were so intent on reading the story.  There are also stories of people that were housebound or separated from family members that once again have great involvement with community, friends and family through our games.  I told the professors these cases in hopes of a better understanding as to why more research on positive impacts weren’t being pursued.  The answer I got back about why no one is researching the benefits of gaming: government funding isn’t there for this and the press doesn’t seem to think positive findings drive traffic and sales.

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I’m not suggesting parents have a lack of caution or oversight on the levels of violence our children are exposed to or that we shouldn’t have research try to understand the impact.  I have always believed that all activities (physical, educational, entertainment) should be in moderation and balanced.  But I really wish that the academic world and even press coverage of POSITIVE things that come from gaming could get more traction.  As a side note, I was encouraged by President Obama’s positive comments on the potential career opportunities for children that could be exposed to game design at an early age.

I would love to hear if you agree with me and if you have had or seen positive experiences from your gaming.  Thank you!

Fred Howard
Vice President of Marketing

129 Comments

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  1. jim Wright / Sep 13 2013 8:41 am

    i work in the oil field and am out on jobs 90 percent of my time.i communicate with 5 of my grandchildren through wizard 101.They are from ages 5 to 13 and i would not have the contact i have with them if not for this interaction..We are 5 years into this game.

    • Anonymous / Sep 14 2013 3:59 am

      I have been gaming for a while and have found it the best remedy for stress and aggression. I credit game developers for providing a great way to maintain my sanity.

    • Anonymous / Sep 14 2013 9:07 am

      I rate this 10 of 10 good wizard and pirate keep up the update :D!

    • sodsid / Sep 14 2013 11:06 am

      Hi ever since I started this game it taught me how to deal with bullies, get better grades, have great social skill and have a new vocabulary nobody has ever heard at my school I have been playing this game for 5 years since launch. Even though that nobody I know plays the game I hope to find someone who does. I am in seventh grade now I took a long way and here I am. Thank you Kingsile
      P.S Nobody knows it but my 2 moms play it too!

  2. Mano / Sep 13 2013 8:59 am

    Playing helped me alot not only when i am bored and playing but even in my exmas i have learnt many new vocab from games (english isnt my first langugue) but thanks to the games i have been playing i got many new vocabs that helped me alot and talking with people around the world with english makes me improve my english too so its not only that it keeps me happy while playing but it does help me alot in my life

    • prasajith / Sep 14 2013 9:23 am

      i like it when people help me too

  3. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 9:05 am

    Hello Kingsisle. First of all, I would like to thank you for making such wonderful games such as wizard101 and pirate101. These games have improved my grades drastically, in typing (learned from chatting with friends), strategy (from forming plans to fight bosses), and for these reasons, I encourage other people to play this game. P.S. I love you Kingsisle!

  4. Alexis / Sep 13 2013 9:08 am

    Kingsisle has improved my grades in typing (chatting with my friends), and strategy (forming strategies for boss levels), and i can say that without Kingsisle, i would never have reached the amount of success and grades i have today. Kingsisle, I love you 🙂

  5. brandon / Sep 13 2013 9:34 am

    I’ve always had an eager desire for mythology, finishing the Percy Jackson series before it was even a movie. So this game has allowed me to continue on my present interests, as well as educate me in such a way. There are mutliple things throughout pirate 101 that have been brought up at school therefore giving me a slight advantage in school, for example the monkeys paw. The story its self was confusing at school but when i related it to the pirate 101 quest it appeared crystal clear. I ended up getting an A on that.

    This also gave to me something to strive for (in the game). which i was then able to transfer this drive to outside activities whether it be exrta curricular or educational properties

  6. Robin Morgan / Sep 13 2013 10:56 am

    I have been playing both Wizard101 and Pirate101 to get a break from doing housework or working with my dogs or just whatever I needed a break from doing. Recently I became very, very sick (I was in ICU for about a week) and when I got my senses back, realized that I could no longer use my left leg (this includes walking etc). I am currently back home and am so grateful that I have these games to keep me occupied instead of watching the horrible things on TV. Thank you Kings Isle for giving me something I can do and enjoy. Yes I am an adult, in fact I am a Grandma. Although my oldest grandchild is old enough to play this game, her mother won’t let her, but she plays here with me when she comes to visit.

    I am very grateful to Kings Isle for making this game and giving me something to do especially now.

  7. jordan / Sep 13 2013 12:26 pm

    beter in english and my senses are beter seing things faster and react better ^^

  8. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 12:31 pm

    I have been playing Wizard101 since I was at a very young age. I have always needed an escape from the tumultuous turmoils we face in our small, narrow-minded world. To flee to a wondrous place like the spiral is most encouraging. Over the many years I have been playing this game, I have learned much new vocabulary, increased my stores of creative inspiration, escaped from the tormenting chaos of peer pressure, and used my wizard as an alter-ego that has inspired me to reflect my own personality. Now I also have the pleasure of continuing this fantastic experience with Pirate101. I enjoy the brain-challenging strategies of combat, creative influences of fictional characters, and social skills that are needed and developed during game play. Thank you Kingsisle.

  9. DJ English / Sep 13 2013 1:35 pm

    me and my mom play Wizard and Pirate 101 to escape reality and if we are stressed out. One thing that I like about gaming is that you can meet other people who share a common bond for gaming. as a senior in high school i get stress every day. homework piles up and i get home and i play to calm down from the school stress. thank you kingsisle you have made many people happy with your two games and we appreciate that.

  10. dan gish / Sep 13 2013 1:50 pm

    I work nights, and as such missed some time with my kids in the earlier years, My son found this game when he was 9 and we decided to go at this together, we even thought of Halloween dressing up as characters from the game, 5yrs later I am still on. It has helped me interact with my teenager and the quests names helped me explain more about life, and my music(Mooshu anyone?)

  11. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 2:06 pm

    Hello Kings isle , thank you for providing gaming for all ages. I have found that since interacting with the game my speed in working with the computer has increased drastically. Helping me be more productive at work entering data into work database, saving time saves money.

  12. Kelly Owen / Sep 13 2013 2:16 pm

    I met my best friend on wizard101, and well its like a getaway, this game is a better life for me than real one, this awesome game that the amazing kingsisle made, is almost my everything! 🙂

  13. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 2:18 pm

    it is a good game

  14. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 2:20 pm

    the game has change my life ive gotten better at typing and i make better grades ever since i started i encourage people to play

  15. washington / Sep 13 2013 2:22 pm

    well i could fine my true friends and i could see who i really am

  16. danielcordell / Sep 13 2013 2:29 pm

    wizard101 is one of my favorite games i play it all the time i finnaly got promethean the other day this game been a blast to play i highly recomend it 🙂

  17. Hannah Pierce / Sep 13 2013 2:32 pm

    Bad gaming? No way! So here’s my story! I started playing Wizard101, middle of 7th grade, and I played it so much! I loved it! Had pets, a house, etc! then I took my finals, well guess what! I ACED IT! IN THE TOP 3%! If I ever get an award for games/engineering, I’m giving Kingsisle a shout-out!

  18. Trevor Dios / Sep 13 2013 2:34 pm

    Gaming has changed my life personally and socially. For the personal part when I am feeling down can always turn to Wizard101 or many different games to take my mind off of unwanted subjects. But socially I used to be a very shy person…..This has open me up to new possibilities and the ability to talk and make friends easier. Also multiplayer games has made me meet some of the best people in the world. Thanks a bunch Kingsisle.

  19. Iridian / Sep 13 2013 2:38 pm

    I do think this game is helpful, especially with math stuff. You can learn a lot about strategy, and it’s amazing how much your approach to a big boss differs as you level up. In Unicorn Way, it’s a hit-them-until-they-die, but later on, adding criticals, power pips, blades, traps, and high level spells, it takes math to see how much a spell really will do if you leave off the blade and just hit with Powernova, already.

  20. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 2:38 pm

    What I love about wizard101 and Pirate101 is that you can meet new friends and it helps you with strategies and the option to build your house, there are many positive things about wizard101

  21. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 2:43 pm

    At first when I saw this game I had no interest in it. When I started playing however, I seemed to love it. When I got my membership, I finally realized how awesome wizard101 is. Thank you, Kingsisle, for wizard101 and pirate 101

  22. brannett guyton / Sep 13 2013 2:53 pm

    I am disabled and can’t see my grandkids that often {some holidays}they call me everyday after homework and tell me about their day and we get on wizard 101. I have 2 granddaughters{ages 8 and 13} and a 11year old grandson we buy clothes for our wizards and we fight battles. I feel like we spend quality time and I get to know things that they like and interact with their friends at school. I feel like I have gotten closer to them through wizard101. I wish I had played years ago. I play when they are in school and it helps my concentration.

  23. Gabriel Starcatcher / Sep 13 2013 2:59 pm

    My math has improved a lot thanks to the systems of W101 and P101. In W101 having to think how much the blade will add and how much the resist will subtract, in P101 thinking about exactly how much will my damage boost when using Great Juju, etc. Thank you KI!

  24. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 3:11 pm

    Hello kingsisle, i have been playing this amazing game for three years, its pretty amazing game,
    it helped my english language cause its not my first language which helped me allot in many things in real life.
    and it helped me finding friends, some of them were very nice and amazing, and that meant allot to me cause am a mother for tow kids so i dont have big chance in having many friends so this game gave me that.
    and i dont have to talk about how much fun this game added to my life, i swear when i play this and talk to friends i never knew i could meet till i played this game i swear some times i really laugh out very loud, and my kids like to watch it with me, i would let them play but they are too little.
    At last i really thank every one working to make this game very fun and very lovely society.
    THANK YOU ALL,
    I LOVE YOU KINGSISLE.

  25. robin / Sep 13 2013 3:14 pm

    every time i got stuck on a quest or had questions the response came fast thanks ki for all the support

  26. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 3:18 pm

    Pirate101 and Wizard101 has helped me with plenty of school. The planets introduce me to new cultures and now I ace tests that have to do with exploring the Americas (skull island :P) Egypt in some cases (Krokotopia) plus the names of NPCs and creatures in some areas help. Like I can connect Monquistadors (monkey things) to the Conquistadors in real life

  27. chandler fruit / Sep 13 2013 3:32 pm

    gaming is good because it gives kids incentives for doing work and other things

  28. kelly / Sep 13 2013 3:35 pm

    So since you have the filter, we have to spell words correctly. i used to spell “a lot” like this: alot. i didn’t know it was wrong until i typed it in the filter and it wouldn’t let me say it. so my point is; i learned new vocab!

  29. Cameron / Sep 13 2013 3:52 pm

    As well as broadening the imagination, gaming like pirate101 enhances your hand-eye coordination.

  30. Anonymous / Sep 13 2013 3:53 pm

    I love Pirate101. It improv my English skills and it is super fun. It’s safe for children. Please never stop ot uploading. Thanks for this great game!

  31. Marshall / Sep 13 2013 4:22 pm

    The benefits of gaming help can actually help you with real-life problems. Like eye-hand coordination, which will help with fitness, puzzle-solving, and fast reaction times. Pirate101 and Wizard101 though it doesn’t help in most categories, they are both really fun games. I’m glad I discovered them otherwise my life would have been horrible.

  32. Tobi / Sep 13 2013 5:26 pm

    When I was younger, I went through quite a few years of stress and torment, bullying, and a lot of other personal stuff. I started searching around the internet for things that would distract me or at least make me feel better or make all of the stuff I went through easier to cope with. That was when I found out about YouTube, BlogSpot, and many MMORPGs. I have played quite a few MMOs before Wizard101 and Pirate101, but It wasn’t until I decided to download, install and play Wizard101 and Pirate101 that I TRULY had a blast. The community, at least from the people that I’ve met in game and on the forums, are polite and helpful, which was and still kind of is uncommon where I live at. Even though gaming only made my troubles go away temporarily, the fun I had on the computer and on my at-the-time really retro consoles is what I always looked forward to at the end of a bad (or even sometimes good) day. So, I thank you, KingsIsle, for making two AMAZING games. You guys are awesome. Keep up the great work! ^_^

    –Unreal (Tobi)

  33. james / Sep 13 2013 8:37 pm

    I have been playing wizard 101 for a year i have met many fun people and a few bad people and it has helper me type faster on the computer i have learned how to type really big words gaming has is really bringing me closer to my friends in real life and in-game so from me i think gaming is really good for bonding

  34. Bravon / Sep 13 2013 9:02 pm

    All of your games are great! I even got my mom playing both wizard101 and pirate101.
    You guys and gals got my family closer so a big happy thanks to you all!!!!!!!!

  35. anonymouse / Sep 13 2013 11:28 pm

    I love wizard101 it is fun addicting and it is the one thing my little brother and I agree on.

  36. Tristan Parsons / Sep 14 2013 7:34 am

    I suffer a lot of stress during my days at school and it always feels good when I know I can come home and take my frustrations out on the bad guys in Pirate101. XD

  37. Anonymous / Sep 14 2013 7:43 am

    Gaming is really a wonderful thing in so many ways. Our generation of children are becoming more technology-based, and the future IS – in a way – revolving around it. I enjoy playing video games my self, and over the summer, MMOs like Pirate101, Wizard101, or MineCraft allow me to better connect with my friends when I can’t go over to their house and hang out with them. The KingsIsle games, as someone else has already said, are in a way – educational. And can help with reading problems, or building neural connections to the real world. However, I don’t let video games take over my life, they’re still fun, and a nice incentive to have once I finish homework. What I’m trying to say is – video games DO have many positive benefits.

  38. Lauri / Sep 14 2013 11:07 am

    My son and I really love the Kingsisle games. It helps me unwind after work and I know it’s helped my son learn how to be more strategic in his thinking.

  39. mineninja2222 (@mineninja2222) / Sep 14 2013 11:07 am

    I love pirate 101 it the best game I ever played. I like that they put some hirstory in the game it’s really cool.

  40. Anonymous / Sep 14 2013 11:17 am

    proper grammar

  41. Thomas / Sep 14 2013 12:49 pm

    I have learded a lot of life lessons, and how to get things done. Plus I just love the game. :D. w101 is awesome.

  42. ALESS / Sep 14 2013 1:40 pm

    My parents have never been home so we communicate through both wizards and pirate

  43. Kingsislegamer / Sep 14 2013 5:29 pm

    Gaming has certainly helped me a lot. I play p101 and w101 and enjoy them both. Gaming has helped me become less board and i can communicate with my brother through p101.

  44. blainykid / Sep 14 2013 5:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Blainyful Followings and commented:
    Trinity University’s researchers Dr. Aaron Delwiche and Dr. Jennifer Henderson are at it it again! Read the whole research story now!

  45. Anonymous / Sep 15 2013 1:56 am

    i love both games I play them all the time.

  46. Rebekah / Sep 15 2013 5:54 am

    My gaming experience has actually helped my family grow closer and be able to learn how to be a team as myself, my husband and my son all play pirate and also wizard which my mother even plays. It has helped us to be able to have fun and bolster each other in a fun way while it stretches our creativity. It also helps me in battle strategy in my writing as I am an Author, it helps me learn how to make all my characters work toward their goals as a team while growing individually.
    I love pirate101!
    Thank you KingsIsle for working so hard to bring us this wonderful gaming experience!

  47. kai / Sep 15 2013 8:42 am

    through this game i have actually learned the english language. i started playing this game only knowing french and german however after a year of this game, english has become a snap. still bad at spelling xD. also meeting new interesting people with different ideas and personalities is the best above all! this game has literally changed my whole life for the best thank you kingisle.

  48. onefishnful / Sep 15 2013 10:32 am

    I love KingsIsle. First for Wizard101 and now for Pirate101. These games are created so beautifully that sometimes when I’m traveling around I just stop and look around an area because the scenery just catches my attention. And the gameplay is awesome. I am a 61 year old female who loves online gaming, expecially anything that involves mythology. I have a very sick husband that takes a lot of my attention. And these games helps keep my mind sharper and takes me away from reality for a little while. It helps lift me out of my depressed state of mind for a little while. There is nothing wrong with online gaming and a whole lot of things right about it. The only thing I can think of that is even a little negative, is that it is very addictive and it can lead to playing too much. But as with anything that you do in live, all you need to do is set lmitations. I hope these two online game sites last as long as I do. Because I would really miss them if I did not have them. Thank you for all the work you do to bring these to us. It is absolutely appreciated.

  49. Anonymous / Sep 15 2013 11:14 am

    Gaming expands my creativity.

  50. Ice Momma / Sep 15 2013 11:17 am

    In this Tech age time it is hard to find things to do with your children. It is easier for parents who have children that like sports, but when you have a child like mine who really gets into gaming. Well I had to find something that I could do with him. Wizards 101 was the first mmorpg I every played and I love it. I was able to get the kids playing it too and we finally had something to talk about and since we started playing together now they open up about other things. It really has been a blessing.

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