LONDON, England – ‘Reality is broken. Game designers can fix it’. That’s the slogan of one of the speakers at Nokia World this year that we’re most looking forward to hearing from: Jane McGonigal. With a career in teaching game theory and design, and with a PhD from Berkeley, McGonigal is fascinated by the ways in which video games might save the world. How does that work? Read on to find out.
In her talk at the TED conference earlier this year, McGonigal explained that the current generation of 21-year-olds has already spent 10,000 hours playing video games. Not entirely by coincidence, 10,000 hours is also the amount of time it takes to become a virtuoso at any particular skill, according to recent findings in cognitive psychology. So we’re raising a generation of world-class games players.
What are these people getting so good at? A variety of beneficial skills, McGonigal says, including working together to change the (virtual) world for the better, in a hopeful, passionate way. What if, she asks, we could harness that passion and skill towards solving real-world problems like hunger and poverty? And what would games that solved such problems look like? That’s what her current work for the Institute for the Future is all about.
Here’s the video of her TED talk. It’s 20 minutes, but well-worth watching.
So what is she going to be talking about at Nokia World? We don’t know – but gazing into our crystal ball, it will be interesting to hear her take on the Conspiracy For Good interactive drama that took place over the summer, and any plans for a new episode. After all, it was part-game, part-drama and part helping to relieve real-world problems around access to education in Africa. Exactly the sort of thing that her research is all about.
We hope to see you there – in Speaker’s Corner 3 – at the conference.