10,000 hours of video games – to save the world?
An estimated 3 billion hours are currently spent on gaming every week. By age 21, the average American will have spent more than 10,000 hours playing video games — the equivalent to 5 years of work at a full time job! The total amount of time that World of Warcraft has been played is 5.93 million years. Game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal makes the case in her 2010 TED talk that games inspire people the way real life does not, raising the question: what is it about games that enables this extraordinary degree of engagement?
She challenges us to design ways to make it as easy to “save the world” in the real world as it is to save the world in a game. Imagine this fact (Carnegie Mellon University) that by age 21 the average American will have played 10,000 hours of video games. That is the same amount of time a child with perfect attendance spends in school from 5th grade to graduation. It is also the amount of time needed to become excellent at something.
. And so, now what we’re looking at is an entire generation of young people who are virtuoso gamers. “Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world,” TED, February 2010.
McGonigal believes gaming will translate into skills that can be applied to solve the world’s problems. Here’s a summation of those skills.
Urgent optimisim – a belief that you will ultimately be successful, even if you experience many failures. How can this trait be harnessed by an active gaming experience to connect both physical activity and optimism – much needed in the pursuit of wellness for many inactive people, many of which are conventional gamers.
Social fabric – a sense of trust that others will help you. How can we design our wellness programs and delivery processes to harness the trust of our target populations?
Blissful productivity – a desire to work hard and purposefully. Can “working hard” in a game be re-directed to “working hard [physically] in a game design incorporated in the marketing of top quality physical activity participation efforts?
Epic meaning – an understanding that one is individually capable of changing the world. “10,000 Hours of Gaming,”TalentedApps, 2/17/10 How can we connect this individual belief that one can impact something as large as “changing the world” to individuals changing the productivity and wellness of their connected world one by one?
If you or those you know have a gift for marketing using sound psychology, behavior and game design techniques we would love to hear from them. Your comments are valued and invited.