That was the message from Jane McGonigal, game developer and director of Institute For The Future at a keynote speech delivered at Bazaarvoice’s 2015 Summit in New Orleans yesterday.
With 99% of boys and 94% of girls in the US into gaming, and 92% of toddlers actively engaged with games via apps, consoles, iPads, smart phones and PCs, brands needed to find ways to tap into the community.
As a race we spend 1.75bn minutes a day "crushing candy", equating to 3.3m years of collective human effort
McGonigal claimed that more than 1.2bn people will spend at least an hour playing video games per day and that as a race we spend 1.75bn minutes a day "crushing candy", equating to 3.3m years of "collective human effort."
Citing data, which showed one in four gamers called in sick for the launch of the latest Call Of Duty video game, she linked the phenomenon to the unfulfilled, disengaged, disenfranchised attitude of most people in the real word.
"81% of global workers are not engaged and do not feel their strengths are being played upon," she said. "This lack of engagement is a source of anxiety and depression. Most people do not feel meaningfully engaged and don’t feel connected."
Games give people a sense of creative power
Video games, she said, provided what was lacking in modern life: feelings of curiosity, creativity, awe and wonder, joy, relief, excitement and pride by enabling people to take charge of singular tasks –it gave a sense of "creative power."
The emotions elicited were backed up by neuroscience, she claimed, which showed how this engagement helped tackle depression and indicated "neurological benefits."
The community of gamers is, she added, an engaged and active one and brands need to find ways to "engage" this largely untapped resource in "meaningful ways."