From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.
Games designer Jane McGonigal wants games to change the world -- and she has good reason to think it's not only possible but in fact quite probable. McGonigal's games harness the power of productivity -- yeah, that same stuff you're pouring all over your push for endgame gear, the energy that's spilling over the sides of your personal quest to score more than 100 companion pets -- to bring gamers together to foster global social change.The average young person today in a country with a strong gamer culture will have spent 10,000 hours playing online games, by the age of 21. For children in the United States 10,080 hours is the exact amount of time you will spend in school from fifth grade to high school graduation if you have perfect attendance. -- Jane McGonigal
Whoa, lofty words ... But listen to McGonigal's 20-minute TED Talk, above, and you'll find yourself nodding along. Harnessing the immensely motivated and collaborative population of gamers makes a lot of sense. McGonigal has a new book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Makes Us Better and How They Can Change the World, that colors in the entire picture (highly recommended reading -- thought-provoking without being heavy in the least).
WoW Insider colors along with McGonigal this month with an exclusive, two-part interview. This week, we talk about how and why gaming will change the world. (We do recommend that you watch McGonigal's TED Talk above first for maximum context.) Next week, we'll narrow the focus to World of Warcraft and pick McGonigal's brain for practical advice for making playing WoW the positive, life-enhancing activity it has the potential to be.