Jane McGonigal – TED

Gaming can make a better world. Key points from McGonigal’s TED talk.

> On average, we spend 3 billion hours a week on online gaming. Jane wants to raise that to 21 billion in the next ten years.

> “We feel that were not as good in real life as we are in games” because in games we become the best versions of ourselves – when we fail, we get back up again and feel like we can achieve anything.

> In games, there is always something urgent and important to be done, often something that only you, as the hero,  can do. You get constant winning feedback (i.e. +10EXP! Leveled up!).

> There are four key virtues that gamers share whilst in their game worlds, which are:

Urgent Optimism – the belief that they can win, if only they try just one more time; little sense of failure being an option

Social Fabric – We like people more and feel closer to them after we have played a game together; we have a shared experience now

Blissful Productivity – We are happier working hard than doing nothing, as this is when we are “optimised as human beings”

Epic Meaning – Every action has  some sort of a result, and larger actions have huge impacts on the game world. We tend to feel like we can’t have this sort of amazing impact of meaning in the real world we live in.

Conclusion: McGonigal believes that these four virtues together make up “super empowered hopeful individuals” and that these traits are why we should encourage people to play games, because these traits would be highly successful in the real world. I think this is a highly idealised concept; while it sounds great in theory, I honestly don’t think the way she’s going about it will work in the way she desires. Gamers often play games to escape from the real world, or engage with a life that is more interesting than their own; rather than encouraging that, wouldn’t it be more useful to apply gaming concepts to the real world, rather than apply real world concepts to the game world? If a game experience could be found in real life, wouldn’t that make it more appealing to stay in RL and try to be a ‘hero’ here?


REF: McGonigal, J. (2010, February). Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world


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