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Via On the Media.

(If you click on “share” you can enable subtitles in a variety of languages; TED is awesome).

Some excepts (courtesy of OTM):

So an epic win is an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive, you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it. And when you get there, you are shocked to discover what you’re truly capable of. And this is the face that we need to see on millions of problem solvers all over the world, as we try to tackle the obstacles of the next century. When we’re in game worlds, I believe that many of us become the best version of ourselves, the most likely to stick with a problem as long as it takes, to get up after failure and try again. In real life, when we face failure, when we confront obstacles, we often don’t feel that way. We feel anxious, maybe depressed, frustrated or cynical. We never have those feelings when we’re playing games. Whenever you show up in one of these online games, especially in World of Warcraft, there are lots and lots of different characters who are willing to trust you with a world-saving mission, right away. But not just any mission, it’s a mission that is perfectly matched with your current level in the game, but it is on the, the verge of what you’re capable of, so you have to try hard. There’s no unemployment in World of Warcraft. There’s always something specific and important to be done. And there are also tons of collaborators ready to work with you to achieve your epic mission. Now, the problem with collaborative online environments like World of Warcraft, it’s so satisfying, we decide to spend all our time in these game worlds. So, so far, collectively, all the World of Warcraft gamers have spent 5.93 million years solving the virtual problems of Azeroth. Now, to put that in context, 5.93 million years ago was when our earliest primate human ancestors stood up. So when we talk about how much time we’re currently investing in playing games, the only way it makes sense is to talk about time at the magnitude of human evolution, which is an extraordinary thing. But it’s also apt, because it turns out that by spending all this time playing games we’re actually changing what we are capable of as human beings. We’re evolving to be a more collaborative and hearty species.

The four potentially world-saving characteristics of hardcore gamers:

The first is urgent optimism. Urgent optimism is the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success. Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible and that it’s always worth trying, and trying now. Okay. Gamers are virtuosos at weaving a tight social fabric. There’s a lot of interesting research that shows that we like people better after we play a game with them, even if they’ve beaten us badly. And the reason is it takes a lot of trust to play a game with someone. We trust that they will spend their time with us, that they will play by the same rules, value the same goal, they’ll stay with the game until it’s over. And so, playing a game together actually builds up bonds and trust and cooperation, and build stronger social relationships, as a result. Blissful productivity, I love it. You know, there is a reason why the average World of Warcraft gamer plays for 22 hours a week. It’s because we know when we’re playing a game that we’re actually happier working hard than we are relaxing. And gamers are willing to work hard all the time, if they’re given the right work. Finally, epic meaning. Gamers love to be attached to awe-inspiring missions. They have compiled more information about World of Warcraft on the Internet than any other topic covered on any other wiki in the world. They are building an epic knowledge [LAUGHS] resource about the World of Warcraft. Okay, so these are four superpowers that add up to one thing. Gamers believe that they are individually capable of changing the world. And the only problem is they believe that they are capable of changing virtual worlds and not the real world. That’s the problem that I’m trying to solve.

Watch the whole thing. It’s totally worth it. I’m actually wondering if there isn’t some comperable discussion to be had about fan communities … talk about blissful productivity and tight social fabric! … but that’s a post for another day.

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