I could easily argue that the Internet was just an epic feat in creating a time waster.
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss World of Warcraft when considering software that added value to the world. For players, there are certainly social benefits to playing, as well as improvements in cooperation, fine motor skills, and tactical and strategic thinking. The game also encourages socialization outside your geographical region, and often outside your cultural boundaries.
From a scientific point of view, the Corrupted Blood incident has been studied by epidemiologists in an attempt to better understand and diagnose the causes and spread of disease. It has also been studied as an example of how terrorists might operate during a biological attack. The psychology of different player types would make a fascinating study, as well as studying the effects of anonymity on behavior. And from an economic point of view, you could test nearly anything you wanted by looking at different kinds of realms.
The truth is, many of us are a bit too quick to dismiss games as "something for kids" or "time-wasters." It's certainly true in some cases, but video games in particular started incorporating aspects of literature, philosophy, and culture long ago. If you want a deeper understanding of history, give Europa Universalis or the Age of Empires games a shot. Games like This War of Mine and Spec Ops: The Line will give you a much greater appreciation for the horrors of war, and even PTSD. Ask any player of Katawa Shoujo, Life is Strange, or To The Moon if those games have had an impact on their outlook on life. Ask a Dark Souls player what it has to teach about persistence in the face of adversity.
I would encourage anyone at all to check out the Extra Credits channel on Youtube. In particular, have a look at some of their videos that approach video games from a cultural, artistic, educational, or personally impactful point of view. The "Because Games Matter" series is very good (and recent).