Jane McGonigal, in a recent article on Alternet, posits that gaming, and the camaraderie created by co-operative gaming has the potential to transform society:
Tech futurist and game designer Jane [McGonigal] on how computer games can help the fight against AIDS, heal disabilities, increase optimism, and make us better people.
There are 183 million active computer game players in the United States. The average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. More than 5 million “extreme” gamers in the U.S. play an average of 45 hours a week. Videogames took in about $15.5 billion last year.
Most of what you hear about this phenomenon is doom and gloom — people becoming addicted, isolated and socially inept. Some worry that gaming is pulling people away from productive work, fulfilling relationships and real life. But game designer Jane McGonigal says the reason for the mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs.