Games reinforce certain beliefs about the players themselves, how the world should work, how people relate to one another, and about the purpose of life in general.
Games create a self-centered universe where the player is in charge, and within certain rules or boundaries, can manipulate other people and objects.
Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that an average 8-10 year old spends more than an hour a day with video games. The huge amount of time spent with video games during their formative years has led the Gamer or G Generation to be “hard wired” differently than those who came before them.
Research done by The North Star Leadership Group led by John C. Beck, demonstrates that gamers show a range of different opinions and behaviors compared to their non-gamer co-workers.
For example, instead, of trying to seek “one” answer, games teach there are many potential paths to “victory,” and one should try as many as possible to see what happens. Victory is possible – the game designer wouldn’t have made the game without a way to win.
Gamers are more likely to believe that “winning is everything” and “competition is the law of nature” than non-gamers.
Gamers believe that the world is a competitive place, and standing still won’t get you anywhere. If there’s a fork in the road, take one and see what happens.
Gamers approach the business world more like a game. They see the different companies—and maybe the people they work with—as "players." They are competitive and very passionate about "winning."
They are incredibly creative, optimistic, and determined about solving any kind of problem you can imagine – believing there will always be some combination of moves that will result in success.
They are very confident, and somewhat suspicious of bosses or a company hierarchy – preferring to rely on their own abilities to succeed or fail.
Gamers are comfortable with risks and they are resilient. They know they can survive failure, because they have failed thousands of times on the way to whatever “wins” they have had within games.
The G Generation is more likely to believe that taking measured risks is the best way to get ahead. It’s built into the way games are played … if this doesn’t work, I’ll try it this way. If I’m stuck in a maze, I’ll try this solution. In a game you are in a situation for a reason, and there is always a way to get out of it. All you have to do is find your way around it – or “solve” the problem.
Finally, games teach that being the hero is important — people are counting on you to save the day and defeat the evil “level boss” … they’ve been taught their entire lives to dispatch with those in authority as quickly as possible (Carstens and Beck, 2005)
More articles on implementing gamification in your organization:The G Generation will change business because of who they are, how they grew up, how they see the world, and how they go after what they want.
- Put Gamification to Work
- Gamification: Getting in the Game
- Gamification to Engage and Motivate Employees
About the Author: Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia
A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.