Researcher: World of Warcaft players make better employees

Digital culture researcher John Seely Brown says MMORPG's players have accelerated levels of passion and curiosity, making them attractive job candidates.


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Playing World of Warcraft will make a person a better employee in the corporate world, according to digital culture researcher John Seely Brown. Speaking in a new Big Think YouTube video, Brown said he would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an MBA student from Harvard.

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"To understand these massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, do not think about it as just game play, but look at the social life on the edge of the game," Brown said.

Brown claimed that such high-level World of Warcraft players benefit from the fundamental collaborative nature of the game, specifically with regards to guilds and raiding. He said these guilds, which can number in the hundreds of players, are fueled only by a player's passion, not any external reward or bonus.

"When we look into the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining, and generation capabilities of this guild structures, there is something going on here," Brown said. "Now, these are not just self-organizing groups. Basically every high-end guild has a constitution. The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time. They also have to be willing to say, 'Let's measure ourselves.'

Another reason why a World of Warcraft player would make a better employee, according to Brown, is because players must create "dashboards," or ways in which players measure themselves and things happening around them. In the corporate world, Brown said, these dashboards are applied by managers, but that isn't the case in World of Warcraft.

"In World of Warcraft you invent a dashboard for yourself," Brown said. "So this whole idea of thinking about how do I build measurements to facilitate my own performance for me and me alone becomes very interesting. And in fact in the World of Warcraft there's a simple mantra I encounter all the time. If I ain't learning, it ain't fun."

Ultimately, Brown said employers would be smart to hire a World of Warcraft player because these gamers have accelerated levels of passion and curiosity.

"But it gets back to this notion of passion, it gets back to this notion of curiosity, and it gets back to this notion that this is an interest-driven phenomenon that unleashes exponential learning of a dimension that's almost unimaginable any other way," he said.

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