Retail therapy is a very real thing. When you’re sad or miserable, going out and buying stuff can make you happier – and no, not only if you’re female. Unfortunately, that little bit of happiness is short lived, and often replaced with buyer’s remorse and even more sadness. Research, however, now suggests that buying video games can actually make you happier.
That’s because video games aren’t just things. They’re experiences – and by buying games you’re actually purchasing memories. When they’re good games, you’re buying good memories, and that has a measurable effect on your general well being.
“Experiential products, unlike material items, enrich and create their own life experiences ; for example, consuming video games facilitates multisensory, fantasy-like, and interactive experiences,” says a study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (via Polygon)
“Moreover, the use of goods that render a service tend to be consumed more as life experiences and less as material items. As experiential products increase in their intangibility, consumers become more likely to reconstruct their evaluations of these purchases as life experiences resulting in similar and rosier recollections”
When you buy a game that you enjoy playing, your brain doesn’t see it as a purchase – instead it registers as a collection of experiences. Further more, things like games can actually help imbue a sense of identity, and give you experiences that you can use to relate to other people.
“Moreover, video games and sporting goods are often purchased with the intention to be consumed with others. As described by Caprariello and Reis (2013), these social material purchases provide the same amount of well-being as do social life experiences because they both likely meet the need for relatedness,” the study continues.
Essentially, if you want to be happier, you should buy more games.
Last Updated: September 4, 2014