A not entirely terrible article about the good and bad effects of video games. Warning, however, for infuriating language: despite acknowledging the importance of getting girls interested in STEM, the article itself persistently refers to “your child” as a “he”. So there’s that.

On a related note: the other day I was having a conversation with another mid-level professional about management skills and MMOs. I have a joke-not-quite-a-joke that everything I know about management I learnt running a 40-man raid in vanilla World of Warcraft. Skills include:

  • time management (organising 40-60 people across multiple time zones, into 4-6 hour blocks multiple times a week)
  • morale and motivation (some people raid for loot, some for prestige, some for fun, etc.)
  • skill training (learning the fights, getting other people to learn the fights)
  • establishing mentoring programs (identifying skill levels in players and formalising mentor roles to further development across the raid)
  • talent identification (some people really like doing certain tasks; notice that and assign them to the work, and they will do it diligently and with gratitude)
  • governance and transparency (creating and maintaining DKP rules, raid policies, etc.; inconsistent application of policies is one of the main reasons raids in those days failed)
  • code of conduct issues (handling difficult players, including penalties and expulsion)
  • recruiting (getting new people into the raid, identifying which people to get)
  • mission statements and corporate branding (what is your raid’s “niche”? are you casual/hardcore/etc.?)

… and so on. Basically, all the skills they train you in in those “So Now You Have A Staff” frontline management professional development courses.

Point being that, think of a grad just entered into the workforce. Where else are they going to have developed skills like this–really top-end management skills–outside of the context of a videogame? Maybe a local sports team or club. But even then, local groups don’t usually have the added pressures of things like multiple time zones and cultural differences; things that are very relevant to a modern multinational. If, historically, “MMO experience” hasn’t been considered good CV fodder it’s been because of the age gap between grads and recruiters. Nowadays, if some kid looking for a My First Job came to me with a CV mentioning they had experience like this I would be ranking them higher in the selection than someone with equivalent education/job experience but without. This attitude is getting more prevalent as the age of the workforce changes, and is particularly the case in IT (which is much more likely to have 30-something gamers in mid-level management positions).

(That being said, the nature of endgame raiding in most MMOs has changed to the point where a lot of this has been toned down from The Bad Old Days. It makes gaming more fun but the skills less job-relevant. For whatever that’s worth.)

Cultural change takes a while, but if I had to guess, I’d say that clan/guild experience will be the next “I was captain of the local weekend cricket team”. It’s not the thing that’s going to land you the job… but it is a good thing to put on the end of your CV, and it does demonstrate actual achievement and skill. Particularly for kids just out of school.