The Economist, stodgy and venerable publication that it is, has joined the growing group suggesting that video games may be one good way to do it. A recent article reports on some of the same powerful aspects of gaming that I’ve highlighted here in Taking Games Seriously as well as in my recent Playing for Change article in WE magazine. Namely, games in general provide for a tremendous sense of immersion, and multi-player games in particular can provide a powerful basis for community building and innovation.
The article draws on observations from a forthcoming book by David Edery and Ethan Mollick called Changing the Game. One of what will likely be many interesting arguments from the book is that
…firms in other industries should look to video-gaming companies for inspiration when it comes to managing their own communities. They point out that good gaming firms must learn the language and rules of different customer groups, appointing staff to engage with them. They also offer prizes that encourage creativity, as well as tools and support that make it easier for users to come up with mods [modification], while discouraging unwanted innovation. The resulting software can help predict what future products might succeed.
Plenty of fodder here for associations looking to engage and innovate with their member base. It’s worth noting, too, that community-driven online games do not have to be built with complex programming and Flash development. Last year’s World Without Oil, for instance, was built primarily on a blogging architecture. The imagination of the players was the engine that drove the game.
On a related note, AARP, whose game site I have mentioned before, has posted a review of some of the best video games for the 50+ crowd. Also, over at AE on the Verge, Cindy has enumerated the reasons your association should consider buying a Wii. (I’ve been meaning to note that one for a while.)
Have fun and learn,
Hedgehog & Fox
Photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/tinyfroglet/2082332002/