The “vivid and thrilling” alternatives found in playing games such as Fortnite were found to be more appealing, especially those designed to reward and motivated players.
It is estimated the number of those joining the online gaming community will grow to 2.7 billion by 2021, according to studies.
Andrew Reid, a doctoral researcher of serious games at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “In a world where terror haunts the streets of major cities, mental health problems are on the rise, and international relations have become worryingly strained, people are increasingly seeking escape in the vivid and thrilling experiences of online gaming worlds.
“Games like Fortnite provide gratification in a way that the real world is currently unable to satisfy.
“Self-determination theory opens the debate of video game ‘addiction’ more broadly to look at game-playing as something that can satisfy basic human desires.”
He also disputes claims video games are addictive, despite a World Health Organisation move to officially classify gaming addiction as a disorder.
Seven years in the making, the sudden rise of Fortnite - a survival game available across most console and mobile platforms - has found fans across the globe.
Mr Reid has previously said people should be careful about using the word “addictive” when referring to video games, as it could potentially stigmatise gamers.
Mr Reid added: “To do otherwise would be to stigmatise the medium as an evil to our society, despite a growing portfolio of video games and research that reinforce the positive characteristics of play and interactivity.
“Fortnite has been carefully created to deliver a truly engaging experience which is not only different for each player but also changes each time they play the game.
“It makes playing the game hard to stop, but this is different to labelling the game, and games in general, as addictive.”