Jane McGonigal on Saving the World Through Games
I saw Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on gaming last week, and it really just dropped my jaw. I’ve been thinking about it ever since then, and definitely have a drastically different point of view towards games.
Here’s a dizzying number: McGonigal researched and found out that we spend, collectively, about 3 billion hours each and every week playing games online. Her thoughts on that extremely large number? It’s not nearly enough:
That’s probably a bit of a counter-intuitive idea, so I’ll just… I’ll say it again, let it sink in.
If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity… I believe we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade.
The rest of her talk goes into more detail about why she believes this. And it’s utterly fascinating.
Some other zingers in terms of stats: so far people have been playing World of Warcraft a lot. If you took all the time spent playing that game, putting it back to back, we’ve spent about 5.9 million years playing this game.
Also: the average young person today spends about 10,000 hours playing games before the age of 21. The amount of time a kid spends between 5th grade to high school graduation (assuming perfect attendance) is 10,080 hours. So there’s a parallel track of education happening for young kids, nearly equal to what they learn in middle and high school.
Here’s her full TED talk: