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Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business

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Companies of all shapes and sizes have begun to use games to revolutionize the way they interact with customers and employees. The authors of "Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business" discuss how games and marketing have become a powerful combination in this introduction to their book.
This chapter is from the book

Introduction

  • Many of our friends like to tease us about our work and research. “Getting paid to play games,” they say with a laugh, and it’s hard not to smile when they do. There’s no question that we love our work, and we don’t mind the jabs. But what our friends don’t realize, and what we hope to demonstrate through this book, is that work and games are not actually an unusual or antagonistic combination. In fact, companies of all shapes and sizes have begun to use games to revolutionize the way they interact with customers and employees, becoming more competitive and more profitable as a result.
  • From our vantage points in academia and within the game industry, we have watched as games have become a powerful tool through which organizations teach, persuade, and motivate people. Microsoft, for example, has used games to painlessly and cost-effectively quadruple voluntary employee participation in important (but tedious) tasks, like testing Windows Vista for bugs. Medical schools have used game-like simulators to train surgeons, reducing their error rate in practice by a factor of six. A recruiting game developed by the U.S. Army, for just 0.25% of the Army’s total advertising budget, has had more impact on new recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined. And Google is using video games to turn its visitors into a giant, voluntary labor force—encouraging them to manually label the millions of images found on the Web that Google’s computers cannot identify on their own.
  • These are just a few of the examples that we introduce in Changing the Game, which begins with a discussion of how games and marketing have become a powerful combination, continues with an exploration of how games are being used to train and recruit employees, and ends with a look at the ways that games can be used to fundamentally change the way that companies do their day-to-day business. And although we’ve tried very hard to give specific, actionable advice that businesspeople can use to harness the power of games, we’ve also attempted to paint a broader picture of the dramatic impact that games are having on the world in general.
  • Games can make it fun for employees to learn how to manage a supply chain. Games can encourage customers to voluntarily spend hours learning about the features of a product. Games can encompass massive economies of virtual goods and services that are worth billions of real-world dollars. All of this—and much more—is happening right now at the intersection of business and games, and the forward-thinking companies at that junction have already begun to reap the great rewards of their effort. Games are transforming the nature of work and play in so many ways that, whether you work in a business, governmental organization, or non-profit, you can almost certainly find a way to take advantage of games to better accomplish your goals.
  • So, are you ready to play?
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