Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Games

Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-farm-those-tps-reports dept.
destinyland writes "A Stanford professor argues that gaming worlds can keep workers engaged, and advocates elements of World of Warcraft or Second Life to hone workplace skills like teamwork, leadership, and data analysis. An IBM report also argues games like World of Warcraft teach leadership and that 'there is no reason to think the same cannot be done in corporate settings of various sizes.' The professor even suggests putting online gaming experiences into your resume. ('There's just so much that gets done [in a virtual world] that's just right on target with what happens in real business.') And Google's CEO also claims that multiplayer gaming also provides good career training, especially for technology careers. 'Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game. If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now... It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace?

Comments Filter:
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:39AM (#30789350)
    Leadership skills? Planning? Cooperation? Have them play D&D. (That's partly a serious comment, actually.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by broken_chaos (1188549)

      As long as they can get a good DM, wholehearted agreement. Much more engaging than most MMOs, if done right.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by deniable (76198)
        The business card would be cool: 'Corporate Dungeon Master.' Probably harder to explain than Systems Administrator.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
          I would be realy hesitant to apply for work with a company sporting a "corporate dungeon master"... Sounds like being 5 minutes late for work means it's the thumbscrews for you. And "downsizing" might mean exactly what it says...
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @09:11AM (#30789778)

      The same was said about sports. "Leadership... teamwork... initiative... coordination... motivation... blah... blah... etc." And they were right. Up to a point. What I'd like to see commissioned is a study comparing the two: who makes for a better Future Corporate Asshole, the quarterback of the high school football team, or the high school WoW guild leader?

      The element of a virtual world that I'd like to see in my RL workspace is a large rail gun out of Eve Online that I could use to convince clients to pay on time...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Jedi Alec (258881)

        The element of a virtual world that I'd like to see in my RL workspace is a large rail gun out of Eve Online that I could use to convince clients to pay on time...

        You'd likely run into tracking problems though.

        Besides, even a 200mm autocannon should be more than enough to convince any client to cough up the dough. That, or a smartbomb(several kilometer range might cause some collateral damage in a corporate office though).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by KlaymenDK (713149)

          That, or a smartbomb(several kilometer range might cause some collateral damage in a corporate office though).

          You obviously have no idea how dense those management types can be.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kral_Blbec (1201285)
        I remember a back when I was looking into the Marines I talked a lot to their officer recruiters. I can't remember exactly how it was said but once they told me something kind of interesting. The gist of it was that they would rather sign on a kid who spent his youth playing computer games than the football captain, because physical strength atrophies so the captain is probably fat by now already and they can get you into shape anyway. Gaming, on the other hand, was a far better training for tactical planni
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bigman2003 (671309)

          Just a guess (being that this is Slashdot, it is a fairly educated guess) you spent high school playing computer games, NOT being the captain of the football team. (So did I, so I don't have any problem with it.)

          But the point is...the recruiters are going to tell you ANYTHING to get you to join the military.

          It's a sales job, and flattering you is part of the job. I wouldn't believe anything a recruiter says. In fact, if you had signed up, you'd know that the entire military jokes about it constantly. "W

  • by Senes (928228) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:43AM (#30789358)
    I don't want work to be this endless soul crushing grind. I don't want my own experience to be considered worthless because the guy next door has the 4 str 4 stam belt. I don't want to be packed into a department of soulless adolescents who can't even talk normally. I don't want to push 90 hour weeks to hit my next milestone. I don't want my supervisor shrieking at me to get on vent for 21st century cutting edge micromanagement.
    • by Hinhule (811436)

      Would be pretty nice to be able to disconnect from work and not be heard from for a week and then come back with everyone being ok with it, you know it happens ;)

    • by julesh (229690)

      I don't want work to be this endless soul crushing grind. I don't want my own experience to be considered worthless because the guy next door has the 4 str 4 stam belt. I don't want to be packed into a department of soulless adolescents who can't even talk normally. I don't want to push 90 hour weeks to hit my next milestone. I don't want my supervisor shrieking at me to get on vent for 21st century cutting edge micromanagement.

      I take it you've decided not to work in IT then?

    • Obviously, you don't Raid. ;)
  • First a lot of these skills can be gathered by more productive methods.

    Things like. Joining a school club, peing part of a play, even joinging a sports team, or helping with public service.

    Secondly with gaming if it is not fun you don't play the game. Unlike work sure you may love your job but there are some days/weeks that are just so boring that if it was a game you would say screw this game it is way to dull. And get a more interesting one. World of Warcraft makes sure you rewards and the amount of wha

    • World of Warcraft makes sure you rewards and the amount of what is going is own is fast. Real life there could be weeks/months/years/decades before your work pays off.

      And that is exactly the point of business simulations: quick reward for success, and mistakes quickly coming to bite you on the nose, so that you can immediately see what went well and what didn't work, then try again. Instant feedback. A well-run class on teamworking will give you more relevant experience on working in teams in 3 days tha

      • by reiisi (1211052)

        Only if the class material is accurate.

        WoW is not reality, and too much of the business simulation stuff is not reality either.

        • And yet you classify a sports team as productive?
          I'd much rather hire a guy who plays video games than plays football, yet society tends to fawn over sports heros when they are usually dumb as rocks and one trick ponies.
          • The Foot ball player still needs to show up to every practice if he wants to or not, as well he still needs to keep his grades at a passing level. The fact that some schools give athletes free passes only really hurts them.

    • by djsmiley (752149)

      Not to mention you can't just /kick or /ignore generally in work situations.

      I was trying to figure out in my head just now why this never works and suddenly it hit me. If you work involved this type of thing, and you do this type of thing for fun, at home, most employeers eventually realise they can say

      "If you do this for fun, why are we paying you so much?"

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @08:02AM (#30789434) Journal
    A year or so ago, I helped my client (a large corporation) look into using virtual worlds and MMOs as platforms for learning and collaboration. I also play MMOs, which helped. And I am familiar with the notion put forth by this professor; companies like IBM have already done some research into the subject. Anyway...

    WoW and similar games can indeed hone or help assess leadership skills.... but only with people who already play Wow. For newbies, the time to learn play the game and train up to a level where there are meaningful leadership and teaming aspects (raids) is largely wasted. There are already better business simulations out there that are tailored to business situations. For instance: running a raid organisation is closer to leading a group of volunteers than to managing a corporate team. Different objectives, different leadership style. If you are looking for leadership and team working simulations that can be done virtually, I'd look for existing p&p business simulation games and port them to a platform like Second Life. The big advantage being that such a simulation hardly requires any training to work the simulation itself; after a short newbie obstacle course you can jump straight into the game itself.

    Virtual platforms offer a range of possibilities for new ways of learning, especially experiential learning in areas like HSE, leadership, self assessment and team working, but sadly there still is very little training material in virtual environments out there. We're proceeding to roll our own. WoW is far too complex a game and far too removed from business relevant objectives to serve as an effective learning platform.

    Putting WoW skillz on your resume? Too early, perhaps. But... if someone is leading a consistently successful raid team, I would readily assume that they have leadership skills worth looking into.
    • by Machtyn (759119)
      Or, if someone is a leader in a successful guild, that can be very noteworthy. If I found that on a resume, I'd be able to check out the organisation's structure and see just how good that person is. Even moreso than if that person had worked at an actual business as a leader.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
        True, but you touch on an important practical point: you have to go in and check. I can't judge the quality of a raid leader from the fact that they have downed Mork the Farty 20 times in a row with no wipes; I'd have to hop on his raid and see how they actually perform. Perhaps the raid leader is rather poor in reality, and it's a group leader giving the orders, and a team member who cools off budding conflicts, with the raid leader being little more than responsible for the loots and invites (come to th
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Nerdfest (867930)

          Perhaps the raid leader is rather poor in reality, and it's a group leader giving the orders, and a team member who cools off budding conflicts, with the raid leader being little more than responsible for the loots and invites

          So basically you have the same possibilities with in-game leaders as you have with business ones.

    • by deniable (76198)

      WoW and similar games can indeed hone or help assess leadership skills.... but only with people who already play Wow. For newbies, the time to learn play the game and train up to a level where there are meaningful leadership and teaming aspects (raids) is largely wasted.

      So you're saying that leaders and managers need to learn how to do the job first? Where were you when we had consultants in?

    • by Ilkhan28 (1711948)
      In the end it would have to come down to the company as to what criteria are desirable on a CV, such as expert raid leadership or guild crafting organization along with the other usual points that do relate to the position being offered. I agree that games in the fantasy field like "World of Warcraft" and "Age of Conan" might be too out there in terms relating to real world business activities and concerns. The concepts like leadership and organization though could apply, and these games do give someone a c
  • Don't go putting your MMORPG experience on your resume. You will not get hired for one simple fact, people have figured out by now that WoW can cause addiction amongst its players. They are not going to hire you if they think all you're going to do at work is play your MMO.

    Secondly, while MMO's can help someone gain leadership and organizational skills (I'd imagine EVE could even teach you some basic economical/business skills), they don't help with social skills. Having an avatar interact with other avatar

    • Having an avatar interact with other avatars is psychologically quite different from interacting with someone in front of you.

      Exactly, and that is why the Google guy has a point. In the future, especially in a globalised yet CO2-lean world, contact with others will increasingly be virtual. If that is what you'll have to deal with in the future, you will have to learn the necesary social skills for virtual meetings. Games are one place to pick up such skills... though I expect the advice to 15 years ol

      • "If that is what you'll have to deal with in the future, you will have to learn the necesary social skills for virtual meetings."

        Or you could use video conferencing. Oh wait, we already do that. Ain't "cutting edge".
        • Try videoconferencing with 20 people dialling in from 6 locations with breakout sessions, or holding a "bazaar"-style seminar with walk-in sessions, or inviting people from outside the company. Videoconferencing doesn't cut it in those situations, but a virtual office might.

          But, you are absolutely right in that one should not try to duplicate videoconferences or teleconferences using something like Second Life, there's no point. It does have its place though. And interestingly, the group dynamics in v
      • Apparantly you missed the huge disclaimer below that.

        ATTENTION READERS: If you were linked here from another site, odds are they got the story wrong. Since columnists and bloggers on the internet can't read, we're going to put this in "simple" speak for any future people that want to write about this anecdotal forum post: 1. Tale was having a conversation with someone at lunch. 2. It was not a job interview, he has a job in online media. Though, apparently almost everyone who wrote about this story should not have a job in online media. 3. This was merely a brief comment in a conversation. 4. Tale is not in America. He is in Australia. 5. This is a single recruiter who said this, not some company or some massive employer, just one dude. Just ONE DUDE.

  • One big difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @08:34AM (#30789596) Journal

    In a MMORPG the rules are clear and you know what you can and cannot do. Follow the strategy and everything will come together, there are few surprises and the AI has no emotion, no ego. No raid boss will deny you victory because you stepped on its toes.

    In the real world, that is not the case, you might have followed the right guide to grind your career to the next level and still never ping because the AI has decided that they shall promote the girl because she is prettier or the guy because he is not a girl. Or the minority because there ain't enough of them or the majority because everyone knows minorities can't cut it.

    What I have noted is that younger people are very good at being assertive but not very good at being meek. They know how to succeed but not how to fail. And yet, when they finish school where many seem to believe they employ the teachers they are suddenly put in an environment where they are not the top, worse, the top positions are already taken and you will have to compete for them with people who got more experience.

    If I would be hiring a new person fresh from school, then I would not be impressed with your raid leading capabilty. Now if you put on your CV that you are a good raid follower, that would matter a whole lot more. Anyone can shout orders, following them is a lot harder. Who needs the other more? Generals vs Soldiers? A simple head count will give you the answer. A new employer will not need another manager, another boss especially one who has not yet proven himself, but they will need people who can do the stuff that is required. And doing that stuff is often boring and unrewarding with you requiring years of grinding away at menial tasks to get anywhere, and there is no progress bar to follow.

    Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that gaming experience can enhance abilities in the real world. If you can organize your guilds supply chain (who crafts what) then you might be a good organizer in the real world. But say that you are REALLY good in arranging that harvested materials make their way to the crafters, does that make you a good procurer in the real world? No...

    Why? Because the game world is consistent, eternally the same. If you want more light hides, you just go out an get them and you can just grind them in a respawn rich area. There are no government quatas, no competition, no disease or enviromental factors. It is, simple. The real world is everything but simple. Some of you might mentions Star Wars Galaxies resource system which changed quality. True, but you could freely travel and harvest all over the universe. As shown by a recent story, in the real world a rare mineral simply might no longer become available in the real world (China restricting exports or rare earth minerals).

    Gaming experience is no more the playing experience. Sure, if you played with blocks as a small child, you MIGHT one day become an architect BUT if you are going for your first job interview as an architect I wouldn't list "block building" on my CV. You might mention it during your background story, "why do you want to be an architect" "Well I always liked the idea of building something, even as a small child when I made bridges with blocks". But it is PLAYING experience, not real world.

    Being a raid leader does NOT make you a leader, it just gives you some play experience at doing it. If you use it at just a light intro to the real thing, then you will do fine. But if you think it prepares you for the real thing or even is the same as the real thing, then you will fail horribly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by darkwing_bmf (178021)

      In the real world, that is not the case, you might have followed the right guide to grind your career to the next level and still never ping because the AI has decided that they shall promote the girl because she is prettier or the guy because he is not a girl. Or the minority because there ain't enough of them or the majority because everyone knows minorities can't cut it.

      Are you kidding? All kinds of guilds "promote" players based on the things you describe. "Suzie's not as good as Bob." "Yeah, but she's

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gavin Scott (15916)

      Well, I disagree that success in leading a guild/raid is only about the game.

      I learned more about managing people and group dynamics in a couple years of raiding than in 20 years of working (mostly as a non-leader) and watching the process.

      The learning happens when you take responsibility for leading a group, which means figuring out how to keep everyone happy and moving in the same direction.

      This generally NOT a process that primarily plays out in a particular in-game event like a raid, though you do have

  • At the first company I worked for, the entire department I worked with would shut the doors and get a massive game of Quake going every Friday. It was a great chance for team building. It was also a great level setter - the manager wasn't always the best shot, you know. I agree that this can be a really productive thing if it's done right.

  • As virtual environments evolve and the workplace is eventually made completely virtual to eliminate transportation, the distinction between work and play will fade. People will be enjoying their jobs more, and they will be rewarded more for their efforts, as new technology (for example, the ability to manufacture super computers or robots for pennies) will provide greater wealth for everyone in society.
    • there will alway be a distinction, you get paid to work. play you do for free.
  • Getting the whole of an office to play games after hours, adding mindless repeativitive (but enjoyable) gaming, on top of mindless repeative work. Offers managers the chance of reducing independent thought, having employees in the office for longer, and giving them a escapism in place of any more expensive bonuses (like pay rises), sounds like a management win to me.

    ---

    MUD (& MMOD) Games [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • you will find people who would slack the hell out in real life doing unbelievable amounts of administrative work for their gaming guild in online games. they do the stuff they wouldnt do if you paid them a fortune.

  • (or was that Doom?) for underperformers in Corporate First-Person MUD"

    Seen through the crystal ball: headline from an HR management magazine, 2013 A.D. approx.

    Firing by capital punishment: "The mind makes it real" for Matrix implantees

    Similar publication by 2017 ;-/

  • Not quite yet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed Peepers (1051144)

    I've been researching leadership and teams in MMOs for the past few years as part of my grad program in organizational psychology. In particular, I've studied players of EVE Online and looked at leadership behavior among guild/corp leaders as well as their followers. I'm still crunching the latest longitudinal data, but the early results point to average levels of transactional leadership behavior (a more managerial style; exchange based; you do X, I'll reward/punish you with Y) but strikingly low frequen

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

Working...