A recent study revealed that almost a third of gamers (34%) would lie and say that they are sick just so that they could play an upcoming new video game if their annual leave were denied. 

Currys surveyed more than 1000 gamers around the country to find out more about their gaming habits and work relationships. The tech retailer also teamed up with Dr. Daniel Wheatley, a Reader in Business and Labour Economics based in the Department of Management at the University of Birmingham, to give his expert insights.

4 in 10 gamers have gotten caught when they pulled a sickie to play games

Pulling a sickie to play a game isn’t a novelty to gamers as almost 3 in 10 (28%) confessed that they have done so in the past solely to play video games.

However, 44% of gamers who have bluffed about being too sick to work on false pretences to play a video game got discovered by their boss. For 23% of those gamers getting caught hasn’t ended well as they had to face disciplinary actions.

Booking annual leave to play is an option for 4 out of 10 gamers

Pulling a sickie may be a final resort for hardcore gamers to play those most anticipated releases, as 4 in 10 gamers (41%) say that they book annual leave to play games and more than half (51%) of the study participants said they would opt for this kind of a time off in the near future.

The majority (55%) of those who take annual leave for a new release will take 1-2 days, but 31% will take up to five days off to play a new game!

Adults booking valuable annual leave days to stay at home and play games may be seen as a “waste of time” for some, but indulging in a hobby on an annual leave comes with benefits. Dr. Daniel Wheatley explains,

Engaging in hobbies can often allow the employee to achieve a desired level of mental and physical separation from the demands of their job and this has the potential to provide the employee with more effective recovery enabling greater productivity during working time. Everyone requires breaks from work reflecting the need for recovery time to avoid negative outcomes including burnout and work-related stress.

Dr. Daniel Wheatley, Reader in Business and Labour Economics

2024 releases gamers are most likely to take time off to play

Game % taking a day off for that game Release date
Assassin’s Creed Codename Red 14.8% 2024
Star Wars Outlaws 12.4% 2024
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth 12.0% 29/02/2024
Mario Vs Donkey Kong 9.8% 16/02/2024
Tekken 8 8.9% 26/01/2024
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League 8.1% 02/02/2024
Silent Hill 2 remake 8.1% 2024
South Park: Snow Day 7.5% 31/12/2024


 Almost 40% of gamers play video games during their work hours

The appeal of a video game is often hard to resist and playtime can bleed into work time. In fact, 38% admit they are indulging in video games during working hours which leads to distractions and decreased productivity.

At the same time, 44% of gamers believe that the skills they learned while playing a game make them better workers. More than a half of gamers (56%) also state that they actively integrate gaming skills that they’ve homed in the virtual world into their daily work routine.

Business expert Dr Wheatley confirms that the skills required for some video games can be integrated in professional lives:

We gain skills and experience every day from our activities including those we engage in for leisure. Gaming requires several skills including problem-solving, resource and time management, communication, hand-eye coordination and more. This has been recognised by employers in some cases with ‘gamification’ of training and work tasks present in some industries and organisations.

You can find more about the study, additional data and sources here:  https://www.currys.co.uk/techtalk/gaming-news/pc-gaming-news/gaming-on-holidays.html

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.