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Don’t underestimate the gamers !

16 February 2011

In a previous post about personal branding (in French), I mentioned the fact that some recruters leverage the gaming-platform World of Warcraft (WOW) to hunt for good managers. Think about it : multitasking, team management, organisation and communication skills… everything that we can find in job offers ! According to Jane McGonigal, we’re also more inclined to collaborate in game world than we are in real world. Knowing that collaboration and engagement seems to be the holy grail of a lot of companies out there (at least on paper), gaming might be a solution.

My goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games

So instead of highlighting the loss of time that gaming might represent, we should better think of it as a creative resource to solve wicked problems. What if Samasource‘s pitch was not “Give Work” but “Give Gaming” ? What if Amazon’s Mechnical Turk was not a “marketplace for work” but a “marketplace for gaming” ? Relating on her experience with a game she designed called World Without Oil, Jane McGonigal thinks that gamers won’t change their way of life just because it’s good for the environment, but because they’re challenged to co-create an epic adventure, to challenge themselve by fighting for survival.

What about real gaming ?

board-with-figurines

So it’s all about flow ? Is it true that gamers just want to be challenged and don’t care about the purpose ? Consider the case of Games Workshop, the company that manages and organizes the (real world) community of Warhammer enthusiasts. These people are passionate about meeting and playing together in workshops, they have also tribes to protect and wolrd to save. The passion for the game and the interaction with peers also put them in some kind of flow. Sometimes they even dress as in they were in the fictional universe of Warhammer… and they forget about the commercial part of the phenomenon.

This is when it gets tricky to manage. Even though gamers are highly engaged and passionate people, they want to be recognized for their involvement. Time will come when people will distinguish gaming for fun and gaming for someone else. Two French researchers (Ezan & Cova, 2008) indicate that the gamers’ willingness to participate has to be recognized as “value” by Games Workshop, otherwise they’ll develop harmful  behaviors (boycott, competition etc.).  We’re not going to be marxists here, but there’s a risk of exploitation of both employees and customers of Warhammer. Fading away the barrier between offer & demand might represent the same risks than blurring the frontier between fun & utility. In other words : Dont’t play with peoples’ willingness to play !

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 26 February 2011 06:45

    Le temps passé à jouer est égal à celui passé à l’école, la compétence acquise est donc forcément celle d’un virtuose. Mais ce temps passé sur une autre activité, écriture, dessin, langues étrangères-ne serait-il pas encore plus profitable . Il y a de la concentration, de la motivation dans le jeu et de l’optimisme, dans la mesure où les enjeux sont accessibles, qui pourraient être tournées vers une oeuvre utile et collaborative

  2. Loïc permalink
    8 March 2011 22:26

    Bonjour

    Merci pour cet excellent post 🙂 Je ne connaissais pas l’exemple de Ezan et Cova, mais pour reprendre nos discussions antérieures, le cas du joueur de Warhammer me fait clairement penser à de la potentielle co-destruction, dès lors que les entreprises n’arrivent pas / ne savent pas comment intégrer correctement leurs clients (du point de vue de ces derniers) dans leur business model.
    Merci également pour le post sur l’ouvrage de Cova et al – je l’ai découvert aujourd’hui, et me suis empressé de le commander !
    J’espère que vous avancez comme vous le souhaitez dans votre mémoire !
    Bon courage, à bientôt

    Cordialement

    • 9 March 2011 07:21

      Merci pour votre commentaire Loïc, j’avance dans mon travail effectivement et les premiers résultats sont passionnants… à suivre !

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