The industry around digital games has become huge in the entertainment sector. However, the purpose of games beyond entertainment has been rediscovered in the last few years and the idea of a meaningful use has gained a lot of popularity since. This work looks into the opportunities beyond entertainment that arise from the medium of digital games in terms of a positive impact on players. After an overview of common contemporary perception of digital games, the paper analyses specific traits of games in a comparative study. It discusses what possibilities can be derived from those characteristics to influence the player, provide a learning environment or enable the medium to embrace serious topics and limitations and obstacles will be looked at. A number of case studies illustrates possible meaningful purposes of digital games and application fields. Based on the theoretical and practical insights, the merits of digital games for society are examined and indications for future research in the field are provided.