Friday, January 28, 2011

Co-opting Video Games

A while back I posted this awesome lecture discussing trends in video gaming and where they might logically lead our society. According to Carnegie Mellon Professor Jesse Schnell, video games are so successful and so rich in their psychological qualities that the medium will be extended to all aspects of our social and economic lives. Check out his blog here.

This idea of virtuous video gaming (VVG?) is catching on. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a great article explaining the psychology of video gaming:
In a good game, we feel blissfully productive. We have clear goals and a sense of heroic purpose. More important, we're constantly able to see and feel the impact of our efforts on the virtual world around us. As a result, we have a stronger sense of our own agency—and we are more likely to set ambitious real-life goals. One recent study found, for example, that players of "Guitar Hero" are more likely to pick up a real guitar and learn how to play it.
The writer, UC Berkley professor Jane Mcgonigal, has a great TED Talk about the virtuous potential of video games. Her new book, Reality Is Broken, sounds like a must-read. A fascinating interview here. The remarkable financial success of online video games combined with their expansion of the population that regularly plays video games is remarkable, and I'm eager to see what new innovations will emerge once more creative power is brought to bear. But let's be honest here: the more immersive, time-consuming, technically trickier video games will probably still remain in their existing entertainment niche, cultural stigmas and all.

For the really interested, here's a really long panel discussion about the future of video gaming. GG.

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