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The Economist Says Gaming is Good for Productivity

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 2008 by Medeor

The Economist shows a cool side.

If any of you have taken a finance or economics course, you have been subjected to the wonderful writing in the Economist. It is a cornerstone in the world of money and global politics. It is also considered a bit stuffy which is why I was surprised to find in my morning read an article about video gaming being good for business. Whoa, did I just read that right?

It's taken years, but finally another big picture media player is testing the water of legitimacy by saying that video gaming is good fun and good for business (well maybe one of the two). Yet another step towards gaming going mainstream. Someday my friends we will outnumber *them* and as soon as I figure out who *they* are, I will let you know!

The article describes how the politicians are starting to "get it" and using gaming channels to get their messages out (you can register to vote over XBox live). And while that is a nice feature, the article really spends its time discussing the positive aspects of gaming as it relates to business and how the creation of communities is exactly what goes on in corporations. These community building tools could and should be used by companies to better manage their resources and stimulate productivity.

An excerpt for the article:

"What makes people, both young and old, want to sit for hours in front of a screen, clicking away on their consoles? The answer, say the authors, is status and friendly competition. Games that track players’ progress against their previous achievements, or against those of others, can make grinding seem like—well—less of a grind.

Staging in-house competitions to boost productivity is hardly novel. But gaming technology can make competition more enjoyable."

"Gaming also promotes community building. Popular games can attract hundreds of thousands of user-group members, who swap notes and develop their own modifications (or “mods”). In many cases, such as The Sims—the most popular computer game of all time, which allows players to control a household full of people with very human attributes—these mods have deepened customers’ attachment to the product."

I'm all for it, gaming is good, business is good, why shouldn't they all play well together? Read the rest of the article Playing for Profit and then tell me in our forums if you really see any of your companies using these types of tools available through gaming. My guess is that they won't. Corporate America is definitely a conservative bunch in general. While I applaud the Economist for trying to tear off the lid on a wonderful community building opportunity, my guess is that companies will continue to do what they do the way that they do, because that's how it has always been done.


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