What started as a form of entertainment has become a dreaded chore. Why is this? This is what’s known as “gaming fatigue” or “gaming burnout,” and it can happen to any of us, not just professional gamers.
What is gaming fatigue or gaming burnout?
The word burnout was originally described in the 1970s by a psychologist named Herbert Freudenberger in reference to professional employees (e.g., doctors and nurses). He used this term to describe how these professionals would feel “burned out”—specifically describing them as exhausted, listless, and unable to cope.
In today’s workforce, burnout is used to describe anyone who has become overworked and under-rested, along with other physical, social, and emotional factors.
So often, this occurs in the gaming community. We see it happen to streamers, professional gamers, amateur gamers, trophy/achievement hunters.
How does it happen?
There are many factors that play into gaming fatigue or gaming burnout, but they all appear to be related to increased levels of physical and emotional stress and not enough rest.
In the gaming community, it appears much of this stress is fueled by pressure to do more—to stream more hours per day and more days per week, to grind your game until you get your chance at a professional level, or to finally achieve 100% completion, and so on.
This extreme commitment to “the grind” may lead to neglect or disinterest in other aspects of your life. And, undoubtedly, the most detrimental aspect of your life affected by this neglect is sleep. I think we have all been here. Without sleep, fatigue will set in, leading to many physical and psychological symptoms and more or less affect your life and everyday things such as work, family life or even the simplest of tasks.
Symptoms of gaming fatigue or gaming burnout
Mental or physical exhaustion
If you’re affected by gaming fatigue or burnout, you will most likely experience symptoms of exhaustion which include feeling tired, lethargic, irritable, and emotionally drained. The simplest of tasks could push you over the edge. You may also experience physical ailments such as headache or feeling physically weak.
Disinterest in previously enjoyable activities
A common symptom of gaming fatigue is losing interest in the activity you previously enjoyed. For streamers and competitors, this is usually losing interest in your primary game or in playing video games, in general.