If you've been a BlogCampaigning reader for more than a few weeks you'll know that Jens and I are both quite interested in ludology, the study of video games. I'm fairly convinced that video games are the future of both entertainment and communications. I don't mind that they aren't being taken as seriously as I think they should be - it just means that there will be greater opportunity for people like Jens and I further down the line.
Like many of our activities, games are becoming increasingly social. According to a recent Pew Report, for teens "gaming is a social activity and a major component of their overall social experience."
The report finds that 65% of game-playing teens play with other people who are in the room with them, while only 27% play games with people who they connect with through the internet. I think that those numbers are going to change rapidly, that the teens who are most easily able to connect via the internet to interact with their peers to play games and solve online puzzles will be the ones who are most succesful later in life.
This might be explained by an article in Wired finds that gamers are using the scientific method to complete missions and raids. In one example from the article, a game academic notes that the teenage boys she studied (I'm hesitating to use the phrase "played with" here) "were building Excel spreadhseets into which they'd dump all the information they'd gathered about how each boss behaved" and that they would use these spreadsheets to "develop a mathematical model to explain how the boss worked -- and to predict how to beat it."
And if you're worried about becoming the out-of-shape, pale stereotype of the gaming nerd like Jens, don't fret. According to a recent study gamers are more physically fit than the average American (Jens is just lazy). If that wasn't enought o get you feeling good about video games, a recent article in The National Post reports that a number of retirement centers in Ontario are using the Nintendo Wii to stage a series of competitions.
"It's hand-eye co-ordination, visual stimulation and works as various forms of therapy. If they are in their wheelchair, it gets them excited, gets them enthralled into something that maybe they didn't do before. They are not just sitting there watching something; they are actually engaged," said Chris Brockington, senior marketing consultant for the group of retirement homes. One of the residents added that the games were "both a wonderful social activity and a great way to exercise."
(thanks also to Techdirt for first pointing out some of the links mentioned above)