How to stop rage-quitting video games, according to psychology

May 31, 2021

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If you're a competitive gamer—or more broadly, a competitive person who plays video games—then you know the feeling of being frustrated out of your mind by the very thing that's supposed to relax you. And if you're particularly prone to this type of frustration, you might also know what it's like to walk out on a game in anger. Someone cheating? Internet too slow? Missed an easy shot? To hell with this—I'm out!

This, as you may know, is called rage-quitting, and it's a fairly common phenomenon in competitive video games. The hows and whys may differ from case to case, but the reasons we rage-quit are believed to revolve around two major factors: control and competence.

It's been said that rage-quitting often results when a player feels that he (and let's face it, it's almost always a he) is not in control of the game, or when he feel that his competence is being challenged. These trigger the emotional response of just leaving the game. To capture it bluntly: pikon.

If you've ever embarrassed yourself by rage-quitting, here are a number of ways to better manage your emotions while playing:

Know your emotional cues

Anger sometimes follows an underlying pattern, but chances are, we can’t really see it unless we step back and observe. So it’s important that you are aware of what triggers you, and how you display signs of pent up rage. Anger management psychologists typically recommend recording personal observations of your aggressive tendencies, then evaluating them after three to four weeks.

Although this habit is not especially targeted at gamers who rage-quit, it still helps to be mindful of yourself when you’re playing. (That you're reading this article is a good first step!) Whenever you have unpleasant gaming experiences, take note of that whole situation, how angry you were, and the other emotions that you felt then. Being aware of your cues and triggers helps you manage them.

Have a set of calming techniques ready

After awareness comes the need for tangible ways to keep your anger at bay. Form a set of relaxing habits that you can practice regularly, even in the middle games. Take a few deep breaths and focus on counting them down; come up with some sort of a mantra and repeat it as much as needed; and change your environment, even if it’s just in your head, by visualizing your own happy place. (If you've seen the Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, you'll know this as goosfraba.)

Start your game with a clean slate

Sometimes, rage-quitting results from anger that was pent up even before you started playing. For instance, if you’re already stressed, tired, or agitated even prior to the game, then there’s a higher chance that you'll be overcome by your emotions while playing. Video games can be a good outlet for your negative feelings, but competitive situations can also exacerbate them. If you're aware that you're in a bad mood, take it easy—literally. Play easier games, lower your difficulty level, play or single-player games instead.

Free your fellow gamers from your expectations

Many times, people rage-quit because they become frustrated, not with themselves or with the game, but with other players, including teammates. This is why it's important to manage expectations whenever you can.

It also helps to frame your situation in a different way, too: Your anger is not necessarily about the external forces—whether they're your teammates, your enemies, or your internet connection. Perhaps it's also about how you appraise those forces. So the next time you feel your frustration building, stop in your tracks and try to exercise as much empathy you can.

Make sure your internet connection isn't a handicap

However, these tips can also be complemented by other concrete steps to improve your playing experience. After all, when lag is the enemy, patience and anger management can only get you so far. Consider if it might be time to switch to another internet provider.

In case you haven’t heard, the country’s third telco player, DITO Telecommunity, has officially started providing internet services across the country, including in Metro Manila.

Right now, you can access its services by buying a SIM card from DITO's exclusive stores, partner stores, or even online stores, and plugging it into a DITO-compatible phone.

In line with the launch, DITO is offering a welcome promo that runs until June 30, 2021. For P199, customers can enjoy 25GB of high-speed data valid for one month, together with unlimited texts to all networks, 300 minutes of calls to other mobile networks, and unlimited DITO-to-DITO calls.

DITO particularly prides itself in its Voice Over LTE or VoLTE technology, which allows users to make high-definition voice calls using their data connection.

DITO Telecommunity has physical stores all across the Philippines, including DITO Experience Stores in Cebu and Davao, as well as over 300 DITO Partner Stores nationwide.

You can also find DITO online, through Lazada or Shopee. To know more about the telco provider, visit its website at and follow its Facebook page.

This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with DITO.
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