Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever Hardcover – Oct 1 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Those who are looking for a contrarian view of video games will find it in these pages. While many parents fret about their childrens minds turning to goo as they squander hour after hour absorbed in electronic diversion, the authors argue that gamers glean valuable knowledge from their pastime and that theyre poised to use that knowledge to transform the workplace. Beck (The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business) and Mitchell (DoCoMoJapans Wireless Tsunami: How One Mobile Telecom Created a New Market and Became a Global Force) base their claims on an exclusive survey of approximately 2000 business professionals. That survey, say the authors, provides the first data showing a direct, statistically verifiable link between digital games and professional behavior in the workplace. The authors express their analysis in clean, crisp prose devoid of jargon, making it accessible for non-gamers, especially non-gamers who are managers. "Gamers believe that winning matters," Beck and Wade contend, and gamers also place "a high value on competencewanting to be an expert in the first place"all of which makes the video game generation, estimated by the authors to be some 90 million strong, an influential force in the work place. The book touches on a handful of other ways in which gamers differ from non-gamers and provides suggestions on how employers can take advantage of their unique values and skills. Some readers may find themselves grinding their teeth at many of the authors upbeat conclusions about the benefits video game players will bring to the business world, but most will find the pairs findings fascinating and provocative.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Got Game deserves credit for drawing attention to an issue...in 200 bright and breezy pages." -- The Financial Times, 21 October, 2004See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
You can call this a generation gap -- the authors analyze the data by age as well as gaming experience -- but over and over again the data suggest that gaming is more important than age. I can see the parts of my own personality that resonate with games, blowing away monsters as well as solving puzzles in resource allocation, but that's a coincidence reinforced by choosing games I like. My children, the data say, have been molded by games.
Have you ever used a slide rule? My father used one routinely, but although I know how, I've never used one to solve a real problem. It's just not part of my conceptual tool bag. When you bump into a business problem, do you reach for a metaphorical slide rule, recall a metaphor from Wordsworth, or make a list? Gamers hit a key or button or mouse, and they do it as fast as they can. Trial and error (and speed!) have been built in to their wiring from their first video game on. That's not the only characteristic discussed in the book. There's a list of twenty in the introduction, including expecting the world to be simple, logical, structured, rapidly learnable, forgiving of error, fair and ultimately solvable.
You can argue about what a terrible thing this is, just like the ancient Romans complained about sloppy togas on their teens. Trial and error wouldn't have built the interstate highway system, got us to the moon, etc., etc. But trial and error is an excellent strategy for taking advantage of a rapidly changing environment. I could quote the control theory to back this up, but that's the point: gamers would have tried four or fourteen or forty new ideas while I was building the model.
Beck and Wade analyze the data, illuminate the differences that gamers bring to a business environment, untangle benefits from prejudices and discuss how managers can manage and motivate gamers to take advantage of these benefits. Even if the idea of yet another corporate team-building exercise makes your skin crawl, you're better off knowing how your younger colleagues think. The book is an excellent combination of data and discussion, so it should be useful and accessible to anyone. Other than gamers, of course; they never read the manual.
The book is relevant to business in my locale, central British Columbia. The conclusions are based on interviews with hundreds of business professionals in the United States, and the demographics are close enough a fit to give useful insights here. Got Game gives a roadmap to the behaviours a video gamer will bring into management.
The key insights this book asserts about gamers are:
* The gamer is comfortable in a world where they are the centre of the process. Video game entertainment is designed to make customers the center of an experience, so the concept of "the customer is always right" is ingrained early on in the gamer. Gamers are used to making decisions that have life-and-death impact; and the gamer is confident - after all, in games, they are the expert.
* For those growing up in the gamer generation, the world is not so big anymore. Gamers assume there is always a solution, "it just may be hard to find on this level"; gamers are more comfortable than others in adjusting to new contexts - they can be surfing one minute, and strategizing against Napoleon the next; and gamers suffer less from ego-bruising - after all, trial-and-error is always the best methodology.
* Gamers relate very well to others. Playing video games is no longer an isolating pastime - it is a new and extremely prevalent way to socialize. Gamers see relationships as structured, but are able to switch between structures easily and confidently. One minute the gamer is the sworn enemy, the next she is telling her brother the secrets to get to the next level. One moment the mentor, the next an ally, the next an enemy.
Got Game is at its most interesting when the authors review recent business trends through the "gamer generation" lens. The authors' explanation of the "dot-com" technology company crash in the late 90s was intriguing. The behaviours identified in their research seem startling relevant, and make the crash understandable. They depict young dot-com presidents able to play their way through the requirements of setting up a public company. If the company went bankrupt and the game was lost, the true gamer simply counted it as a learning experience, and would still be able to say they were presidents before the age of 30. Press reset, and the business game could start again.
The book is a worthwhile read for HR professionals, and those hiring management. Beck and Wade estimate that there are 90 million gamers in the US workforce now. Drawing a simple comparison to Canada's population would put 9-10 million into the category for us. In short, you can expect to see gamers applying for your jobs soon, and Got Game gives a good roadmap to understanding how to harness the skills of the video game generation.
Got game zaps the smug boomers. It explains that video games teach tons of skill, build self confidence and, yes, you knew it, encourage good team behaviour. And it points out that these benefits are mostly lost on the boomer generation.
The authors lay out their research that shows how these skills really give an edge in business. Gamers develop the leadership and entrepreneurial edge that managers say they want. If only they knew how to spot it.
For those of us who never quite understood why whacking balls had much to do with making money, Got Game is refreshing look at how the gamer generation can contribute so much more.
The dot com boom owes a lot to the Gamer generation. All that energy, innovation, risk-taking was intense, just like a game. Yes, there was the dot com crash, too. But you are reading this on Amazon, aren't you?
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