More than 375 million people worldwide engaged in a computer or video game last week. Adam Martin, T=Machine
63% of the U.S. population from ages 15-65 play some type of online game. (NPD Group 2008 Report)
Multiplayer online games like Call of Duty, EVE online, Guild Wars2, Habbo Hotel, Lord of The Rings Online and Medal of Honor have more than 1.5 billion registered identities (meaning that many people have several accounts). Adam Martin, T=Machine
MMOs And The Future Of Work
Multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), also known as MMOs, are sophisticated games with immersive environments. These games provide users unique experiences with communication tools, user interfaces, real-time feedback and a timely pace of challenge and reward.
In MMOs, people compete, cooperate, cry, explore, join, laugh, meet and immerse themselves in social roles that engage the mind and emotions. An increasing number of these online games involve complex, collaborative problem-solving strategies that are social in nature.
“Game psychology and technology are broadly relevant to business. There are new and important lessons for those whose work touches on recruitment, hiring, training, retention, leadership, teams, evaluation, collaboration and innovation. The lessons are applicable across business functions–sales, marketing, research, development, production and management,” Bryon Reeves and J. LeightonReed, Total Engagement.
The MMO Stats
The median age of an MMO player is 33, as compared to the median age of the general population, 35. People in their thirties make up the largest concentration of players, six times larger than the number of teens and three times the number of college students between 18 and 22. The average age for all online game players is 35 with 26% older than 50. 60% of the most active MMO players are female avatars who might or might not be women. (Data from Total Engagement)
Almost two-thirds of MMO players have some college education as compared with 40% of the general population. Only 8% of MMO gamers have less than a high school education as compared with 20% of the general population.
MMOs gamers that have full-time jobs and a family, play more than 25 hours per week. The under-eighteen crowd plays the least, 22 hours per week. Those over forty play nearly 30 hours a week. Women play five more hours per week than men.
Why MMOs Are Engaging
Most MMO gamers engage in levels of focus and commitment rarely seen at work. They lose track of time as they immerse themselves in alternative environments and sophisticated online interactions.
Many of today’s workforce want experiences that parallel their MMO play. They expect some of these same experiences in business, work and face-to-face experiences.
Research by Reeves and Read illustrates that the mind and body react similarly to immersive virtual environments and situations as it would in real life. The physiological and psychological responses were the same. This increases the level of engagement.
- Real-time feedback (good or bad)
- Trial and error opportunities
- Failure as part of the learning process
- Competition and collaboration
- Governance by a set of known rules
- Contributions for the larger good
- Emotional connections
Business and event organziers can learn a lot about engagement from MMOs. In the future, more people will look to these online games to make work and conferences more fun, engaging and immersive.
How can conferences create an immersive environment that generates an intense focus of its participants? How can event professionals embed more elements of fun, the catalyst of engagement, into their experiences?
I think the most important thing business should do with their employees is allow them opportunity to fail without making them feel as though they will lose their job if they do fail. Sure there have to be consequences, but you’ve also got to let people know that you’ll still with them regardless of if they fail at a few things here and there.
multi player online games ARE addictive and they do speak for a person’s true personality most of the time. I think the advantage they have over other games is the virtual community and socialization, and sense of being part of something. How businesses can use this to create a similar environment for employees is beyond me. I don’t think it is even possible. People like games to the point of addictiveness because it is an escape from everyday worries. If the same people have to play these games for money, they will cease to be fun.