Jane McGonigal: "Games are Happiness Engines"

Img_4212Photo credit: Geoff Oliver Bugbee / www.geoffbugbee.com

Jane McGonigal says she's not interested in predicting the future, but in making it.

She want's a gamer, or perhaps a band of gamers, nominated for a Nobel Prize by 2032. She hopes by the end of the session the we might envision that possibility too.

Great quote: "Games are a vital material of the future."

Some quick stats:

  • Sixty-five percent of households play video games. Eighty-eight percent of youth under 18 play games.
  • Seventy percent of (what size?) companies use game to train employees.
  • Average U.S. gamer is 35, which means that they're continuing to play games. It's not a fad. Forty percent of gamers are woman.
  • $68b industry.

Displaying a sign in a window she passes everyday that says "I'm Not Good at Life," she begins by saying says "Reality is Broken."

It can be fixed by more and better games. Massively multi-player games provide instant feedback on performance. "Everything in this world is meant for me to do something with," which doesn't apply in the rest of life. World of Warcraft has 134,000 articles on the game and its world on the WoW Wiki. What other problems have that kind of brain power applied to them? People feel empowered in WoW.

And people are literally moving to these places, a fact which Edward Castronova, who is an economist, says is a very rational behavior based on the benefits received: This environment makes people happy.