I'm a hardcore game player. I'm actually quite well known in some MMO circles and have my share of epic wins (which I assure you is much harder in MMORPGs than they'd be in most games). I can spend the whole day bragging about them, but that's not the point
This persona I'm using on E was from another game I used to play where I tried to be as androgynous as possible to avoid the 'girl gamer' advantage. I kinda hate that
The Fridge Logic hit when I realized that it's a hell lot harder to build a wall in a MMO game than it would take to build a wall IRL. In a game, you're faced against maybe 20k people who want to do something. IRL, you might have 20k people in your town. Only about 1000 of them bother to achieve anything, the rest are happy just having money for their hobbies and climbing up the seniority ladder.
Winning a MMORTS involves creating an alliance of dozens of players (400 in one of my former alliances). You have to motivate people without having any strong incentives in hand. You can't actually play with KPIs or bonuses. You have to not only train people, but train trainers. And without the threat of jail time, you deal with amplified politics. You have to navigate with hundreds of other alliances, sweet talk them to your side, and when a war starts between two of their allies, you have to sweet talk or yell at them to stick to your side.
So I figured that with all the time and effort I put into MMOs, I might as well start a business and make real money from that skill.
All that gaming experience helped, a lot. I'd say that 90% of people hate doing sales. "Sales engineer" is one of the hardest positions to fill - few people can have both a practical skill and be willing to do sales. Just having a sales skill pushes you up the career ladder. If you've ever played a MMORTS, recruitment is by far, one of the most powerful skills in the game. So is interviewing people. And approaching random people asking them for things.
Much like with a game, IRL you set goals and find ways to get to them. I've got a good list of epic wins after 1 year. Including a contact who's a COO of a > $1B company and at least 5 multimillion dollar companies as clients.
It might sound surprising, but it's incredibly common for 28 year old people who grew up on games. I listen to business radio all the time, and a common theme among these old Gen X business people is dealing with the "entitled, creative, disloyal Gen Y". I think games are the main reason for such a sudden shift. Gen X didn't grow up with 10k hours of gaming.
There's a catch though, Ms McGonigal missed out that 10k hours was supposed to be spent on one game before mastering it. Someone who plays a game then switches to another after 8 hours isn't going to face the later stages of a game. Those later stages which involve intense training or reverse engineering things via systems modeling and statistics. I was a semi-professional gamer (competed in WCG 2009-2011) and it requires so much damn training that it stopped being fun.
I remember seeing this talk. I'm not sure how well her ideas could be implemented with the kind of tangible results she seems to be after. I also think she has a skewed view of gaming and gamers. I'm not sure how sociable the average COD or MOTA fans might be.
She seems to focus mainly on qualities and skills that might develop through MMOs. Even then people can be perfectly anti-social in these games and MMOs are only one subsection of gaming. She does hit the element of escapism right on the head but that element of games will only hinder efforts to get people to believe they can create meaningful change and remove some of the motivation to play if applied to real world idea.
Yeah, she missed something. Adams & Rollings (2007) broke down gameplay into 5 elements - physics, economy, progression, tactical maneuvering, social interaction.
RPGs, the focus of this talk has all these elements. But focused on economy and progression: stat juggling and epic story. MMOs add social interaction. I'd say MMORPGs and MMORTS games are the only one with the kind of advanced coordination to reach the stage she's talking about. Oh, and team sports.
Action games focus on physics (shots/running), economy (ammo conservation), and progression (story). If you move up to a higher tier into competitive gameplay against very skilled players, social interaction is vital. Everyone knows that coordination in DoTA matters more than individual skill.
Puzzle and platformers are almost solely physics with little progression. They're quite the opposite to RPGs/management games/strategy games, which are what she's focusing on.
The example games she goes over doesn't really seem to make use of gamers as gamers. Two are more awareness and educational than a constructive tool. The other one looks to be more crowd sourcing and I'm not sure how much of a benefit a game framework is to the project. These are valid tools in problem solving but they don't necessitate a game to be implemented.
I do remember hearing about levering the positive feedback of leveling up to increase productivity and motivation for everyday tasks. One problem with it is that it could lead to things like little Timmy brushing his teeth too much to farm exp. There is also an amount of computer integration that would be needed to for a task to be trackable.
Game design is a very new field. IIRC the first professional game design journal was up in 2001. Right now, she's just pointing out that some effort can be made to fix this, but doesn't propose a great implementation of those ideas. Game design goes through a lot of iterations and prototypes before they can become meaningful. Ms McGonigal is just trying to push that direction into something more meaningful, maybe even get more awareness and funding to build a better system.
HabitRPG is a game/productivity tool that literally tries to give little Timmy XP for brushing his teeth. There are a lot of flaws to this system, which I could write a whole article about. But the concept is there. But the field of gamification is even newer and is only now gaining momentum. HabitRPG isn't the first of its kind, and with the power of modern smartphones, there's some very rapid development which we'll see results of within 3 or so years.
Maybe the best example of gamification today is Zombies, Run! which actually got gamers exercising.