Study reveals most and least stressful FPS games: Warzone, CSGO, Apex Legends & more

csgo and warzone charactersActivsion/Valve

A study conducted by the University of Leeds, UK, has given an insight into the most and least stressful first-person shooter games, and the results might surprise you.

With a focus on FPS and battle royale titles, the study from human biology and psychology researchers at the University of Leeds wanted to find out how exactly certain video games can impact stress.

By evaluating participants’ heart rates and blood pressure before and after playing said games, researchers sought to establish which of the following games had the highest impact on these metrics and, by extension, stress levels.

With Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, CS:GO and PUBG on the menu, there were some interesting results.

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apex legends ash ultimateRespawn Entertainment
It’s not nice viewing for Apex Legends players…

The study, which was commissioned by sportsbook BetVictor, was conducted on 32 gamers that were either ‘good’ or ‘experts’ in their chosen FPS title. Their BPM and blood pressure was measured before and after playing one game.

As you can see in the graph below, Apex Legends actually produced the highest heart rates. In fact, the Apex players, on average, had a higher heart rate than other players after playing their game.

Interestingly, CS:GO was the only game which saw an overall reduction in heart rate, perhaps on account of the slower, more methodical nature of the game.

Leeds study on heart rate in FPS gamesBetVictor
Players’ heart rates were tested before and after playing their chosen game.

Which FPS game is most stressful?

In the graph below, you can see players’ overall stress levels before and after gaming. Interestingly, every single one of these titles saw a decrease in stress, but some more than others.

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CS:GO saw the greatest reduction in overall stress levels, according to a STAI (or State Anxiety) test. This was followed by Warzone, PUBG and, in last place, Apex Legends. This may be because of the pre-match stress in these players, however, with Apex actually recording the lowest and CS:GO the highest.

Leeds study on stress in FPS gamesBetVictor
CSGO actually proves to be best for alleviating stress.

So while the study may have used a small sample size, it seems to prove that even the most stressful FPS titles and battle royale games can actually be great stress relievers.

Apex Legends players, however, might want to consider a new game.