While Game theory , and gamification of business apps is becoming increasingly part of the mainstream retail and business to business environment, for many people, playing video games is merely an enjoyable pastime.
According to the American Psychological Association, gaming can also help to develop problem solving skills, and improve a range of other cognitive skills.
They compiled a list of 5 ways in which playing games can be beneficial in the real world and help develop widely applicable skills.
- Helping us face challenges. Most video games have a challenging nature and overcoming said challenge is the object of the exercise. What’s true in game is true in real life, which is full of challenges, and learning to overcome them is an invaluable skill. To succeed in most modern games (with hundreds of hours of playing time) you have to be willing to commit the time, learn and apply strategies to reach the objectives. The theory that you need to practise for 1,000 hours to become truly skilled at any task is well accepted, and the ability to commit time and focus you attention is an invaluable skill.
- Help to deal with stress. Fairly self-explanatory, but too much stress impedes not only our ability to work, but to live a full life as well. Games can relieve stress, and in some cases, they have been used to treat cases as severe as PTSD. Gaming is making inroads into healthcare, both mental and physical health, and so we predict it will, over time, loose the image of being a relatively sedentary and indolent activity.
- Improve social skills. This might seem odd, but the in-game communities that are created online are one way for like minded individuals to socialise with one another. Augmented Reality games are especially effective at this, but all games are beneficial. Again the image of gaming being a solitary experience will, we predict disappear over the next few years.
- Improve multi-tasking. According to studies, playing Call of Duty, for example allows people to more effectively handle auditory and visual distractions in the real world, without it affecting their workflow. What we learn for gaming, is being applied in the real world. In particular the lessons learned are being applied to auditory warning systems in, for example, the construction industry, and airlines. Allowing developers to streamline systems, and ensure important warning signals are harder to ignore.
- Helping us when it comes to balancing work. In video games one often has a limit on how long you can take before you must have achieved a certain goal, and this is true of many situations in real life. Balancing our workflow and learning to compartmentalise tasks in order to get them done within a specific time frame, is a vital skill, and one that is honed by gaming.