Video games are good for you—and good for democracy, too. With all the talk of violence, addiction, and isolation, such an idea is not intuitive. But a recent study showed that online game communities provide access to social capital. “Online gaming has a positive effect not only on each gamer’s life, but also on society as a whole,” says Tetsuro Kobayashi, a social psychologist at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo.

“Online game players have been seen as nerds or socially less...

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