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Could the Next Nobel Peace Prize Winner Be A Gamer?

by Rainier on Oct. 29, 2008 @ 2:40 p.m. PDT

Jane McGonigal, noted PhD and Director of Game Research and Development at The Institute for the Future, is convinced that either a game developer or a community of online gamers will be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the year 2032.

"Why am I so confident that gamers can save the world? It all boils down to this: Online gamers – even the most competitive gamers – are the most collaborative and cooperative people on Earth. You might not guess it by the way they gleefully battle each other to the (virtual) death. But even games that seem designed to stoke and inflame our competitive spirits are, in fact, quintessentially collective adventures. To play a game with someone else, even ruthlessly cutthroat games, requires extraordinarily collaborative behavior."

What’s so collaborative about playing an online game with others? Well, when gamers play together, they agree to play by the same rules and to pursue the same goal. They agree to ignore the real-world together for as long as they’re playing. Perhaps most important, gamers actively work together to make believe that the game truly matters. They conspire to give the game meaning, to help each other get emotionally caught up in the acting of playing. Games don’t just happen. Gamers come together to actively collectively bring to life the game world. They construct the game experience together. That’s why the notion that online games are somehow “anti-social” is so wrong. Any time you play a game with someone else, unless you’re just trying to spoil the experience for other players, you are actively engaged in pro-social behavior.

Read more about Jane McGonigal, Ph.D.'s New Breed of Social Players over at Sci-Fi's How You Can Save The World.

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