New research provides evidence for what we already knew.
A recent article by Reuters, Video game playing may fulfill innate human need, gives some conclusions from research into the positive effects of video games, or more specifically into what makes game play compelling. This research is somewhat unusual in that it does not start with the intent to study game violence (nor the goal to prove a negative impact of games). The research was conducted by Immersyve, a “virtual environment think tank”, in collaboration with the University of Rochester (home of the “Nipple of Knowledge”).
The research, or at least the limited information available online, suggests that games can fulfill basic needs in a meaningful way, and that those games which do so “predict better psychological outcomes for players” as well as “commercial success for games.” This is one point that I made (albeit without research citations at hand) when testifying before a committee of the Michigan Senate a couple of years ago. The gist of the results, obviously, is that players who have their needs met by a game will tend to continue to play and enjoy that game, whereas players will move on from games will do not fulfill such needs as well.
Personally, I have some clear ideas about what kinds of game experiences produce psychological well-being, and I will be interested to see how my perceptions match with the research results, as well as whether there are different types of game players who respond innately to different stimuli.