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Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? 68

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.'"
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Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace?

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  • by broken_chaos ( 1188549 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @08:07AM (#30789460)

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

  • 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.

  • by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @02:07PM (#30791754)
    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 planning, spatial awareness, cooperation, and equipment use. Driving a tank is much more like playing a video game than catching a ball.
  • Not quite yet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed Peepers ( 1051144 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:04PM (#30792194)

    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 frequency of transformational leadership behavior (charismatic, visionary, empowering leadership; generally considered the "best" style of leadership).

    Jargon aside, EVE players do not appear to be learning how to be better leaders by playing EVE Online. MMOs might help build follower skills (complete this quest/work assignment and I'll give you a gold piece/paycheck!) and make you a better wage slave, but I haven't seen empirical evidence that MMOs are teaching anyone how to be a leader in the workplace, as claimed by TFA. There are anecdotal stories from a few guild leaders, sure, but for now only guild leaders of large guilds should even consider putting MMO experience on their resume.

    Finally, MMOs aren't going to teach /. readers about technology in the workplace. I am sorry if I crush anyone's dreams.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer