Why should we be taking video games more seriously?
In 2008 Nintendo overtook Google to become the world's most profitable company per employee. The South Korean government will invest $200 billion into its video games industry over the next 4 years. The trading of virtual goods within games is a global industry worth over $10 billion a year. Gaming boasts the world's fastest-growing advertising market.
In addition to these impressive statistics, video games are creating a whole new science of mass engagement which is beginning to revolutionize the way we research and understand economics, human behavior and democratic participation. Games are used to train the US Military, to model global pandemics and to campaign against human rights abuses in Africa.
Journalist and author Tom Chatfield visits the RSA to examine the ways in which virtual game worlds can function as unprecedented laboratories for exploring human motivations, and for evaluating economic theories that it has never been possible before to test experimentally.
Tom Chatfield is arts and books editor at Prospect magazine, and writes on arts, philosophy, media and technology.
His book about video games, Fun Inc., is out now from Virgin Books.
Recreational or competitive activities that involve physical skill, intellectual acumen, and often luck (especially in the case of games of chance). Play is an integral part of human nature. Throughout history, humans have invented sporting and gaming activities as a means to socialize, to display skills and prowess, and to entertain or offer excitement. The earliest games may have been based on hunting and gathering activities. In modern times, with the emergence of professional sports, games continue to serve as physical and emotional outlets, as diversions, and as enrichments to daily life while also playing a pronounced economic role.
Kerryoco: It's depends on what game your playing and when you're looking at their behavior. FOr example if you're looking at how people play Mass Effect 2 or Fallout, of course you're not going to see their true colors because playing "the destroyer of worlds" is much more fun. However there moments in games when fun simply isn't something you're allowed to have. For example, people spend hours analyzing World of Warcraft just to figure out which array of skills and weapons will yield the highest damage output and how much gold/gaming hours are they willing to spend in order to get these things. It's during these parts of the game when people HAVE TO act like real people and that's exactly what economists are looking at.
"people are at their most human" when they're involved in play - this is a huge reach IMHO.
economic models of games match economic models of real world? really?
i would guess people are MUCH more freewheeling in games than the majority of say... the conservative middle class is in real life.
some type of research may be possible, but i would doubt that any direct analogies to the real world economy are possible.
you are getting a very REPRESSED side of people in games, not a REAL side.
also to all the people studying the economy... stop. leave it to the machines.