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Playing virtual games in the workplace

We've heard before about how different activities in World of Warcraft can actually help you be better at your job, but now the BBC has posted an article examining how game mechanics from games like WoW can actually help your company help you work better. According to the ESRB, the average gamer isn't a teen after school any more-- he's 33 and has been gaming for 10 years. And because so many more professionals nowadays know the basics of gaming, employers are starting to apply those rules to the workplace to make everyone more productive.

One mechanic used is a form of "virtual currency" in terms of emails and meeting time-- send an email or hold a 15 minute meeting, and it costs you a token, while tokens can be earned in all kinds of ways. Not only does it keep employees on task, but it adds an extra layer of strategy and thought to the normal workday. Another game mechanic used by employers, says the BBC, is the idea of guilds and leveling rewards. "Guilds" in the workplace are tracked along a point system, and the best guilds get the best projects and rewards.

Very interesting stuff. While it sounds like good news for employers, I'm not sure how successful ideas like this would actually be among non-gamer employees-- at some point, how good you are at your job would be determined not by your industry ability, but by your game-playing ability, and that doesn't seem like a good outcome. But if employers find employees are willing to use these mechanics to make themselves more productive, everyone could benefit.

Thanks, Lienn!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items, Leveling, Making money

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