Playing through the Pandemic: The Social and Emotional Gratifications of Gaming during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan


While most industries were hit hard during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global game industry was not only resilient—it was thriving. With a dramatic reduction of business activity and opportunities for social interaction due to widespread social distancing and stay-at-home orders, gaming not only served as a pleasant distraction, but it provided players with social gratifications and a sense of achievement in a time when the monotony of daily life made it hard to recognize our daily accomplishments. Like most countries with a large gaming population, Japan was no exception. Although some studies have suggested that problematic gaming is related to coping and escape, socialization, and personal satisfaction as reasons for playing, this presentation explores the positive social and emotional gratifications associated with gaming. In order to do so, by means of discourse analysis, this presentation reveals the interpretation of results from a large-scale survey obtained with the cooperation of Tokyo-based GameWith Corporation. The overall findings reveal that almost 90 per cent of respondents agreed that gaming not only helped them to cope, but helped them to connect with others in an often immensely isolating stay-at-home context.

Author Information
Antonija Cavcic, Shiga Prefectural University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2021
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the KAMC2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21