Great Wired article by John Seely Brown about World of Warcraft and what you learn when you play it.

And that's exactly what Gillett is doing. He accepted Yahoo!'s offer and now works there as senior director of engineering operations. "I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job done," he says. "Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise, I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task." His story - translating experience in the virtual world into success in the real one - is bound to become more common as the gaming audience explodes and gameplay becomes more sophisticated. The day may not be far off when companies receive résumés that include a line reading "level 60 tauren shaman in World of Warcraft."

The savviest employers will get the message.

13 Comments

Haha, finally all those hours will amount to something.

not sure if this is anything new: historically, persons would participate within secret societies, such as the freemasons: the higher ones rank, the better one did in memorizing word games and abstract concepts. It is interesting that in Hatian society, the vodoo culute of east nigerian, was assimilated by the freemasons who conduced a revolution in Haiti.

So will warcraft really anything new? It is the same system, applied to a transperent world.

An interesting thought, but I know from seeing firsthand that some people can get to level 60 just by brute-forcing their way through the levels.

What happens to the notion of counterculture cool, resistance, and subversion when playing games is just another way to get a job?

There is an interesting effect at work in here -- a curious way to justify gaming (in this case, but we can think about other cases too) by coopting it within extant frameworks. In the same way that, for instance, the economies of places like Second Life make them new places where people can be trained to consume appropriately, the idea that WoW experience is a step on the ladder to a better job.

I can see it now: "Come play World of Warcraft! Become a drone for The Man! Secure your place as a cog in the capitalist machine!"

Hmm, what's wrong with this picture?

I don't think it is about being level 60. I think the learning comes from participating in a well-run guild. I think the point is that the skills necessary to manage many of the complicated tasks in the game can apply to business.

Paul: I think there is just so much diversity in WoW that it really is whatever you want it to be. There are kids to retired military officers. And there are 5 million of them. I don't think it is a "step on the ladder" but just a place that you can learn things that might help you if you're trying to get a job. The media will probably run with various memes like "the new golf" and "play WoW, get a job" but I don't think it will undermine or dominate the reason people play and what people get out of it. To me it's much more about communities and immersive real-time environments and there is stuff that will apply to just about any real world process or interaction.

That's a really strange thought. If that kind of stuff happens-it will validate wasting hundreds of hours on video games.

Team player:

You might be missing a point here. Playing WoW at a high level is not time. Managing a Guild is even a less waste of time. As the article states it's all about accidental learning wich means that while you're playing you're learning. That's the important part.

Having said that, the article does not state that playing any video game will be fruitful, it talks specifically of WoW.


Regards,

Don

I was in a 40-man raid on a Horde city that was led by a gregarious 16-year old on ventrillo (the software used for voice communication). And I was thinking in my mind, man, this guy'd make a great manager or leader someday.

indeed, games nowaday are getting more and more sophisticated and not just for children, acutally for some games players have to reach certain ages to understand it.

btw, what do you think of putting your blog link in a CV? I've been thinking this issue for quite a while.

I know that I learned more about entrepreneurship by playing Animal Crossing than by any more traditional method (including business school coursework!).

And if you don't think you're being indoctrinated by games, television, movies, and radio every waking minute . . . where have you been?

Leading edge elearning thinkers are exploring gaming as a medium - not to mention wikis, blogs, and delivery of elearning by cell phone and PDA. Some people call it "extreme learning."

The counterculture becomes the mainstream culture. Witness the boomers and rock & roll.

Good stuff. I also have met some very competent leaders amongst the online gaming worlds. Some of the top echelon players often migrate to new games with each other, meet in real life, etc. They are conquering new games before the masses even know what's going on. It will be interesting when games become so real that they actually impact the real world in some way- or vice versa, the business world becomes so connected that project management is almost totally virtual... And yes, the young kids who are 13+ who are leading huge packs of all ages do learn a lot about management, there's no doubt in my mind about that.

I know L'Oreal had an online text-based business game going on where winners would win jobs. I'd like to see more of this type of recruiting and integration of today's youth interests with future opportunities. What about a SIM game that's free, Java-based and encourages people to create their own worlds (just like the normal SIMS games). The big difference with this game is that it would allow virtual design of real items (sponsored by host companies: Nike, Ikea, Tommy Hilfiger, etc), virtual business models testing, marketing strategy testing, large prizes for successful players and much more. A whole virtual business world- all the way up from just relaxed, interacters (player type), to young, budding business pros. The most popular characters are easily recognized by raw data figures, their abilities are aided through online design-supported programs and their talents can blossom. Many professions besides design could find truly efficient training and talent searching, quantitatively, in an online SIM-like game (politics, teaching, business, etc). The true potential of the net has not been touched, imo.

Reversing it works, so why not the other way around.

Apply common trading/business approaches in WoW and you get great results, e.g. 60 gold by lvl 20 from approaching manufacturing of goods for sale in the same way as in the real world.

If one learnt from WoW the methods of supply and demand trading, is this not a skill that can be applied to the real world?

In a modern world, experience of any kind can get a foot in the door. A conservative business may end up passing over exceptional candidates simply because the experience is not "normal" or "real" in their eyes.


I completely agree that modern day games develop skills that can be used at the workplace. This isn't your father's Atari!

It's unfortunate that most of society lumps video game playing with waste-of-time activities like watching television (see Team Player's comment above). Instead, it should be viewed as a productive hobby such as learning a musical instrument or foreign language.

I believe that as games continue to evolve and the younger generation begins moving up the corporate ladder we may see a day where playing games such as WoW will increase your chances of getting hired.

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