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Start bringing your Xbox to the office

Start bringing your Xbox to the office

Even as the latest trends show that the use of gaming technology in businesses is increasing, experts say the concept is beneficial for companies.

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September 29, 2008 11:45 by



Kipp just received one of the usual press releases about some company expanding or coming to town. In this case, it is a company called Wisdom Games, a game development and publishing company based in South Africa, which is joining hands with a local media company, Q2 Holdings, to “expand their corporate footprint globally.”

Anyhow, we came across this interesting titbit in the release –

A national poll, conducted for the Entertainment Software Association in the US, surveyed the management of 150 companies and non-profit organizations between March 17 and April 2 this year. The findings show that 70 percent of the companies interviewed use interactive software and games to train employees. The poll also found that more than 75 percent of businesses already offering video game-based training plan to expand their usage in the next three to five years. And 78 percent of those not utilizing this technology are likely to offer it in the next five years.

While incorporating a “play area” or a “relaxation area” in new offices has become fairly common, the use of games to train employees seems like a fairly new concept in this region.

“Our leaders of tomorrow are a generation raised on Nintendo, Xbox and MTV. These days, a company’s population is so young that we need to readjust our thinking on how best to effectively ‘educate’ the younger generation,” says Raymond de Villiers, CEO of Wisdom Games. “Game-based learning works in any industry, and can include content of any subject,” he adds.

The Economist also wrote about a forthcoming book called “Changing the Game,” last month, where the authors say that many skills and lessons from the gaming world are applicable in the business world. The smartest firms, the authors argue, will not only allow game-playing in the workplace, but will actively encourage it.

The article also takes the example of Microsoft, which asks its staff to help debug the new version of its Windows operating system before its release. In the past, project managers had to spend a great deal of time and effort persuading employees to help them. So for Windows Vista, Microsoft created a game that awarded points for bug-testing and prizes such as wristbands for achieving certain goals. Participation quadrupled.

So is it time for us to start playing Mario in the office? We certainly hope so.



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