TED Conference Preso: How Gamers May Save Your Business, or the World

Too many people make the “I’m not good at life” face.

But in games, people apply themselves to overcome obstacles and often create alternative better selves.

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and she has a goal to increase game play to 21 billion hours per week — and to make better games.

There’s no unemployment in World of Warcraft. There is, in fact, more industry than in real life.  And good, clear incentives and feedback.  Young people who game normally will log 10,000 hours of games by age 21. That’s the same number of hours of school from 5th to 12th grade. That’s enough to be virtuoso gamers.

And here’s what the 1.5 billion gamers are virtuosos at, and why society (and your business) needs them:

!) Urgent Optimism: they want to act immediately, and believe they can win.
!!) Social Fabric: they connect and say in the game.
!!!) Blissful Productivity: they’re happier working hard and being engaged.
!!!!) Epic Meaning: they love to be part of the epic story.

In this preso from the TED conference, McGonigal debuts EVOKE, a game-based crash course in changing the world. It’s connected with African universities and the World Bank, which will recognize gamers who complete it. Her story from Herodotus about the Lydians, which was possibly a gaming culture, is worth the watch alone.

Who knows: perhaps next we’ll hear that Farmville is really all about training people for sustainable agriculture.

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