CANNES 2013: Jane McGonigal on the super powers of gamers

Far from the stereotypes of gamers being introverted and susceptible to anti-social behaviour, the latest research conducted by Omnicom's PHD demonstrates the more games you play, the more motivated you are.

McGonigal: says that the more games you play the more motivated you are
McGonigal: says that the more games you play the more motivated you are

Speaking ahead of PHD’s presentation at Cannes Lions, visionary game designer Jane McGonigal talks to Campaign about some of the benefits observed in modern day gamers.

"The research is pretty astonishing," she says. "The more games you play, the more motivated you are to tackle tough challenges in real life.

"You become more optimistic about your skills and abilities. You are more determined in the face of setbacks, more resilient, less likely to give up."

The findings of the study into games will be widely welcomed by people who play video games and games manufacturers alike.

The industry has been long demonised by many quarters, including parenting groups, governments and pressure groups, and has in the past been linked to crime, violent behaviour and juvenile delinquency.

However, with developments in games consoles such as Micrcosoft’s XBox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii, and the explosion in mobile and web-based games, the average profile of a gamer has changed significantly. Last year, 'Angry Birds' surpassed more than one billion downloads.

Today, around 40 per cent of all people who play games are women, according to McGonigal, and they are developing some valuable skills.

She says: "Gamers can spend 80 per cent of their time failing and still feel engaged and optimistic, whereas non-gamers can start to feel fearful or anxious failing just 10 to 20 per cent of the time."

Having created games for the World Bank, the Olympic Games, the American Heart Association, the New York Public Library, and many more, McGonigal explores the application of game-design principles to real-life challenges, and touches upon how agencies can harness the power of game-design principles.

McGonigal says the transferable experiences of games design can make for more collaboration internally and with clients, to demonstrate more playful creativity and still be more resilient, motivated and optimistic about the working environment.

According to Gartner, by 2015, 50 per cent of organisations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes, and that by 2014, more than 70 per cent of global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.

McGonigal will be speaking with PHD’s global planning and strategy director, Mark Holden, on stage at Cannes Lions later today.