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Why do we multitask while gaming?

A perfect video to watch while playing a video game

Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

Do you listen to podcasts, binge tv, or watch video game streams while playing video games? You are certainly not alone: Research shows that we spend hours of our day consuming media from multiple sources at the same time. It’s certainly easier now than it’s ever been!

We can play our Switch while watching TV or add a second monitor to our PC setup. Everyone these days has a smartphone that can watch live streams or play games (or even both at the same time).

We also have more content than ever before: Podcasts, live streams, YouTubers and TikTok influencers publishing everyday. More and more streaming platforms are filling their libraries with binge-able series that are perfect for semi-paying attention to. These more ubiquitous “second screens” and more content to engage with are certainly culprits for the increase in media multitasking, but what about the games themselves? Is there something about the games of today that makes us less likely to fully pay attention to them?

That’s the question I tried to answer in my video about video game multitasking. I sought out the games people played while doing something else, interviewing my coworkers, trawling forum polls, and even starting a discourse on Twitter. I found people who never multitask while gaming and others who can’t game without having something else to watch at the same time. I also discovered some intriguing trends among multitaskers and categorized the most popular multitasking games that came up in my research. Be sure to check out the video for some of my own personal recommendations!

If you enjoy this video and you’re looking for some more content to play in the background while you game, be sure to check out (and subscribe to) our YouTube channel!