Gaming is a broad term: so, what do we mean by “gaming”?


Gaming is a broad term: so, what do we mean by “gaming”, and why are we focusing on it? Thanks to advances in technology, a lot of the gaming we do now is social gaming. From mobile to PC to consoles, many games have us constantly connected to friends or strangers from all over the world. Games have us competing, sitting on leaderboards, and many of the places where we buy games, such as Steam, have become social media platforms in themselves. Suddenly, gaming is no longer the private experience it was in the previous console generations.

We have started thinking and talking about gaming, and often it can elicit the same response from participants as gambling. Moreover, many games have begun to implement paid add-ons, from DLC to lootboxes, many of which require luck, and have odds comparable to those of gambling. It’s now more surprising that a game doesn’t have paid add-ons, where ten years ago, what you got on the disc was all you would ever have to pay for.

Esports has elevated gaming from an individual pastime to a hobby that can pay in the millions for a lucky few, and video platforms host thousands, if not millions, of gaming-related videos. From speedruns to walkthroughs to lore discussions, it is easy to sink hours into videos, many of which are sponsored or garner revenue through adsence.

We are not here to make direct comparisons between gaming and gambling, but gaming has become an increasing part of student life for many – especially during the pandemic – and we are aware of the positive impact gaming can have. We are here to ensure you have the best experience while gaming!




Gaming is far more common at university when compared to gambling: 79% of students have gamed! From Fallout to FIFA to Raid: Shadow Legends, there are games for everyone, so this really isn’t surprising. Everyone’s view of gaming differs depending on what and how they play. 74% of university students play mobile games, which often automatically connect to any of the new numbers and Facebook accounts you add from a night out who also play that game! Meanwhile, around a third of students console game.

Why do you game? Because its entertaining and you want to pass the time. It can be a social experience, a way to compete from your sofa, or a solo way to escape for a while into a whole different world. This explains why gaming has taken off so much in lockdown! And whilst you may have been gaming long before you came to university, it may be the first time you’ve gone completely unsupervised and not everyone has the discipline to stop themselves at the end of the night when they know they should go to bed! For that reason, if you are not confident in your self-control, ensure it isn’t the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing you do at night.

It is also important you make yourself available to your new flatmates and friends, and don’t exclude yourself accidentally. So set some time limits for your gaming – or have plans set up before you start so that end point is already defined!

Our research shows gaming can improve relationships with friends more than have a negative effect. If this is with your friends at other universities, you should think about asking your Students' Union there is a gaming society or similar. If not? Set one up. It's the perfect opportunity to make friends at your university that you have a natural common hobby with!


eSports has been a recent frenzy amongst players of young and too young, especially since the 2019 Fortnite World Cup winner was 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf (aka “Bugha”) who managed to claim the $3 million prize pool. This competitive gaming industry has been able to rack in $1.4 billion worldwide and the highest earning gamer earnt $6.9 million last year. Impressive figures for a person to wonder off in the path of being the next esteemed gamer, from competing as Ryu to becoming the king of the Battle Royale.

As tempting as this ‘career’ path may be, and the glamour of the bright colours and eccentric battle anthems, it has required 40 hours of gaming from the very best and to balance that with school and University blues can be a tad demanding. Nonetheless, playing for a bit of fun and a way to socialise after a day’s hard work is probably a way better option. If you’re at Chichester or Staffordshire you might be studying the UKs first degree programmes. Or if you’re at Roehampton you might have enjoyed the first eSports arena at a University. This is fast becoming a major industry in the UK.



The core of YGAM and its mission is to inform, educate and safeguard young people against problematic gaming and gambling. Now it begs the question of what exactly problematic gaming is… in simple terms, it is gaming that is excessive and has a more detrimental impact in your life, a bit like drug or alcohol addictions. After YGAM did some digging and published our extensive research on students and gaming habits; 20% felt gaming had a negative impact of their feeling of social isolation. Chat parties aside, without turning on the PlayStation or the Xbox and of course I won’t forget you PC gaming folks, you would feel a void inside of you when you are not spending your time gaming. That is quite concerning.

Socialising aside, 28% of daily gamers have found their academic performance taking an ‘L’ at the expense of ‘quality’ gaming. When you have priorities or other tasks at hand, then take a step back and do what you got to do since there’ll be plenty of time for fun and games later once you’re done. Plus no one spends their time productively and regrets it… as the saying goes; short-term pain, long-term gain.

Compared to gambling related harm, gaming related harm is a fairly new topic. This means there is less formalised support available and it’s not as easy to source. Nevertheless, support is there. We are working with universities on how to support students and there’s more you can find on YGAM’s support page. The most important thing is that we all recognise that there can be serious gaming related harm and to be a step ahead of the game, we have a few tools below to test what you can look out for if you're worried about yourself or a friend, or in other words, a gaming litmus test where you're the judge of your gaming habits. Pretty neat right?


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