Got Game?

I was on vacation last week trying to burn the rest of my days off before the end of the fiscal year. I was able to finish one of the books recommended at a LOEX session, Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever by John Beck and Mitchell Wade. It's a relatively short book coming in at 180 pages. Beck and Mitchell surveyed 2,500 business professionals in the US. Their research subjects included recent MBA grads from two programs (unidentified universities on the West Coast and in the Midwest) and business professionals working in all sizes of companies and in a wide range of fields. Their research focused on finding out if worker's abilities, expectations, and attitudes were different between those that grew up playing or being around games versus those that did not.

I was a little disappointed in their choice to make 1975 the starting point for what they called the Gamer generation. I don't agree with this choice, since I was born in 1970 and I consider myself to be a gamer. I also know many other people born anywhere from 1968 to 1974 who are active gamers.

Beck and Mitchell set the stage for their findings by starting out with a quick overview of the development of the game industry. They then explore some of the common concerns about video games: sexism, violence, stereotypes, and isolation before jumping into the analysis.

Their research shows that gamers:

  • are driven to compete;
  • care about the fate of their employer;
  • are very loyal;
  • are engaged in their work;
  • prefer to multitask;
  • prefer compensation tied to actual performance; 
  • enjoy being the hero;
  • value teamwork;
  • are comfortable taking risks; and
  • learn best through trial and error.

Throughout the book Beck and Mitchell offer suggestions on how managers can best use a gamer's strengths. The book doesn't have much to offer for those interested in the use of games for learning. However, I would still recommend this book to anyone with management responsibility.

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