“The average young person today in a country with a strong gamer culture will have spent 10,000 hours playing online games, by the age of 21. For children in the United States 10,080 hours is the exact amount of time you will spend in school from fifth grade to high school graduation if you have perfect attendance.”
“So, we have an entire parallel track of education going on where young people are learning as much about what it takes to be a good gamer as they are learning about everything else in school. And some of you have probably read Malcom Gladwell’s new book Outliers. So, you would have heard of his theory of success, the 10,000 hour theory of success. It’s based on this great cognitive science research that if we can master 10,000 hours at effortful study, at anything by the age of 21, we will be virtuosos at it. We will be as good at whatever we do as the greatest people in the world. And so, now what we’re looking at is an entire generation of young people who are virtuoso gamers.”
What are they getting good at?
1) Urgent optimism
They believe that they are capable of changing the world – and ready to take action at a moment’s notice.
2) Weaving a tight social fabric
Gamers are masters at rapidly creating strong social bonds. Also, it’s interesting to note that we like people more after we’ve played with them.
3) Blissful productivity
Gaming exemplifies that we are happier working hard than relaxing if the work is structured right.
4) Epic meaning
Gamers love (and are used to) being attached to world changing stories.
Right now, we are using games to escape into virtual worlds, but it doesn’t have to be that way. These skills could apply to the real world if the real world was redesigned to work more like a game.
Just one example: World Without Oil
“We made this game in 2007. This is an online game in which you try to survive an oil shortage. The oil shortage is fictional, but we put enough online content out there for you to believe that it’s real, and to live your real life as if we’ve run out of oil. So, when you come to the game you sign up, you tell us where you live. And then we give you real-time news videos data feeds that show you exactly how much oil costs, what’s not available, how food supply is being affected, how transportation is being affected, if schools are closed, if their is rioting. And you have to figure out how you would live your real life as if this were true. And then we ask you to blog about it, to post videos, to post photos. ”
“Nobody wants to change how they live just because it’s good for the world, or because we are supposed to. But if you immerse them in an epic adventure and tell them, “We’ve run out of oil.” This is an amazing story and adventure for you to go on. Challenge yourself to see how you would survive. Most of our players have kept up the habits that they learned in this game.”
Great stuff, and if you’re wondering what that might feel like on a more everyday level, watch this genius talk by Jesse Schell from Carnegie Mellon University.