Jane McGonigal does a great job at TED of selling the human resource of gamers and calls for us to harness that energy towards solving world problems. She talk about four important game elements that engage players:
1. Games give players something to do all the time and just at the players level or just within of their reach – what Vygotsky would have called the Zone of Proximal Development.
2. MMO games offer a ready group of collaborators.
3. They involved players in an epic story.
4. The provide immediate reward via leveling up. Players get +/- points for activities.
When looking at the time people have spent in WoW, McGonigal says it is 6 million person years – the equivalent of the time since humans first walked upright. She says a typical gamer spends 10,000 hours playing games – the equivalent to the time in school from grades 5-12, and the amount Malcolm Gladwell claims is necessary for expertise in any given discipline.
She ends her talk with a description of the potential of the gaming population stating they have
urgent optismism + strong social fabric + blissful productivity + epic meaning
just what it may take to save the world….