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IBM exec: Games are great for employees

Hot on the heels of last week's news that employers are staying away from hiring WoW players comes this article from the BBC, quoting an IBM executive who says that gamers are actually exactly the kind of people you want on a team: David Laux, global executive in charge of games and interactive entertainment (wait, maybe that's why he's so keen on game players) says that casual games can improve memorization and the abilty to discern details, first person shooters can help with rapid decision making, and games like World of Warcraft can boost leadership skills. He says WoW specifically helps players learn how to work well on a team, assess risks, and put the group first to achieve a common goal.

Which is true -- if you're actually the one in charge of groups. I'm of the opinion that it's very possible to play a game like WoW and get a nice boost to your leadership skills (leading a guild is often a job in itself), but I think it's also very possible that you could play WoW and not get a thing out of it -- I know quite a few people I've grouped with that I'd never want to have sitting next to me in a real office.

The bottom line, as always, is somewhere inbetween the two opinions. If you're already interested in taking charge and being a leader, WoW is a great simlulation to let you do those things. And if you're already a lazy worker and interested in helping yourself more than whatever team you're on, WoW probably won't cure you of that (there are certainly plenty of selfish people running around the game every day). In short, if your hiring policies are based on whether or not someone plays videogames, you might want to reconsider them completely.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances

MMO players make great leaders


Do you think that playing World of Warcraft has given you leadership skills? A study done by IBM and Seriosity claims:

Hundreds of thousands of players -- sometimes millions -- interact daily in highly complex virtual environments. These players self-organize, develop skills, and settle into various roles. Leaders emerge that are capable of recruiting, organizing, motivating, and directing large groups of players towards a common goal.


Of course, IBM and Seriosity are attempting to sell MMO-inspired business solutions, but the study itself is interesting even to those of us who aren't in the market. In it, IBM and Seriosity suggest that within MMOs, players need to organize in order to accomplish goals -- and the skills of the player who organizes your guild's raids are no different from a manager in a traditional office environment.

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