Here's yet another incredible presentation from the folks at TED, this time from video game designer Jane McGonigal. It highlights the untapped potential for the world's most popular online social activity: video games.
A few stats that jumped out at me:
• World of Warcraft players have racked up more than 5.93 million years of total gametime.
• Young people now spend as many hours playing video games (10,000 hours) as they do in school.
• The World of Warcraft Wiki is second only to Wikipedia as the most-used Wikis on Earth.
• There are currently an estimated 500 million gamers on Earth, with another billion on the way in the next decade.
Most adults (especially parents) probably consider these stats "scary," but I think this video helps express how that mindset is changing under Generation Y.
For example, when McGonigal says that the average World of Warcraft player puts in 22 hours of game time a week, your first reaction might be, "What a waste of time!" But compare it to the average American's TV viewing habit of 38 hours a week.
Is it better to spend 20-40 hours a week in a fun, collaborative, interactive environment such as a video game, or just staring passively at a glowing television while you veg out on the couch?
(Full disclosure: I've never played World of Warcraft, nor do I subscribe to cable or satellite TV. My wife and I probably average 8 hours of video game time a week, versus 4 hours of TV via Netflix.)
So what do you think? Does McGonigal make a compelling case for the social potential of video games? Or is she simply trying to find a silver lining in the fact that people are hopelessly addicted to entertainment?