This year I’ve taken myself out of my HR/recruitment comfort zone and immersed myself in the games industry. I’ve tried to think less like an HR person and more like a gamer and game developer. I’ve attended games conferences, events and exhibitions in New Zealand, the UK and USA. I’ve played games, watched video presentations from games experts, and listened to games publishers and commentators provide reviews and post-mortems on all manner of games. I’ve learnt what’s happening and emerging in the gamification world, and how applying gaming principles to anything can actually lead to amazing outcomes, like fighting disease and saving the planet.
Yes, the gaming industry is serious business and should certainly not be trivialised. Games hold 42 percent of the digital content sold across all media. There’s massive money in it, as there are game players who, by all indications, are becoming increasingly addicted to the proliferation of games across multiple platforms, from console through to desktop and mobile. We apparently spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Over half the internet population plays social games and on average these people spend 9.5 hours per week immersed in game play. Mobile is having major influence on our behaviour, with an annual increase in game activity on our mobile devices of around 45 percent. And we’re creating a significant cohort of young gamers coming through the ranks, with the average young person racking up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21. But many of our assumptions around player demographics appear to be a bit off. Around 60 percent of gamers are over 40 years of age and there’s nearly a 50/50 gender mix. In fact, some leading games are more popular with a female demographic. Closer to home, we exported $31.4 million worth of digital games last year, which is greater than New Zealand's music or TV exports.
I’m in awe of the passion and deep immersion for gaming from within the games industry. At one games conference I attended, I spoke with a well known games producer who runs a game development studio. They said that they just don’t find as much time to play games in the evening as they used to, with a young family and all, and can now only manage around 4 hours per evening. During the breaks between sessions at the games conferences you can spot attendees playing games on their mobile devices. At the conferences and events they promote hands-on game-play. On the crowded subway in New York on the way to the games conference I noticed lots of fellow passengers playing Candy Crush - all ages, all genders, all races. Then at the conference I heard various presenters and panellists mention that to understand addiction and game mechanics you have to play Candy Crush, one of the world’s current and most popular games. I succumbed and while playing I've considered the various game mechanics built in.
7 HR Lessons from Candy Crush
How does this all relate to HR? From my perspective I/we can learn plenty. My personal motivation is that I want to make job advertising not just more visually engaging but more entertaining, immersive and addictive. I’ve been taking my learning and applying it to Jobgram's future product design.
Below are a few brief takeaways from my short foray into the games sector, and how it can potentially relate to and benefit HR. Even if you’re not a gamer, think about your experiences playing card and board games with family and friends.
So is it time to blow up your HR strategies and systems and redesign them with gaming principles in mind? Or hire a game developer to gamify your workplace? Many game developers seriously see an opportunity here. But please don’t turn HR into some sort of whimsical game. It's far better to gamify work than workify gaming.
This post was originally published as a guest blog here: http://hrmannz.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/the-12-blogs-of-christmas-7/