Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - High Dimensional Nonstationary Time Series


The impact of temperature on gaming productivity: evidence from online games

Xiaojia Bao
Qingliang Fan

This paper studies the short-run impacts of temperature on human performance in the
computer-mediated environment using server logs of a popular online game in China.
Taking advantage of the quasi-experiment of winter central heating policy inChina, we
distinguish the impacts of outdoor and indoor temperature and find that low temperatures
below 5 ?C decrease game performance significantly. Non-experienced players
suffered larger performance drop than experienced ones. Access to central heating
attenuates negative impacts of low outdoor temperatures on gamers’ performance.
High temperatures above 21 ?C also lead to drops in game performance.We conclude
that expanding the current central heating zone will bring an increase in human performance
by approximately 4% in Shanghai and surrounding provinces in the winter.
While often perceived as a leisure activity, online gaming requires intense engagement
and the deployment of cognitive, social, and motor skills, which are also key skills
for productive activities. Our results draw attention to potential damages of extreme
temperature on human performance in the modern computer-mediated environment.

Temperature, Human performance, Online game, Heating

JEL Classification:
Q54, J22, J24, D03