Can Games Make us Better? We Need an Epic Win

According to Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken-Why Games Make us Better, humans invest 3 billion hours a week playing online games. In her SXSW talk McGonigal spoke about the common belief that time playing games is wasted and unproductive. For McGonigal playing games is productive and we need to increase the amount of time we play games to solve the world's problems. Using Seligman's definition of productivity-PERMA: Positive Emotion, Engagement, creating stronger Relationships, producing more Meaning to be of service to a larger goal and a sense of Accomplishment- she made a case that games are not a waste of time --they work well creating self motivation and a sense of accomplishment.

The problem is not with games but rather reality-it's broken. Reality does not provide the kind of motivation that games do. What real world problems need is to offer the same addictiveness, sense of success, happiness and productivity that games provide. Instead of complaining about wasted time she says we should "repackage real problems."

As a example, she talked about Evoke the 2010 game she created along with the World Bank Institute. The Evoke project is a ten-week game that hopes to change the world. The social network game's goal is to empower people to come up with creative solutions to the world's most urgent social problems and to teach young people how to start their own social enterprises.

In the 10 week 2010 pilot, 20,000 students from 130 countries got involved creating 51 real companies around the world funded by global giving. Top players earned online mentorships with social innovators and world business leaders, seed funding and scholarships.

Now that's a productive game!

Hear Jane McGonigal at SXSW here
or watch her TED Talk below

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