Thursday, May 15, 2008

Could violent video games reduce violent crime rates?

That's an interesting thought, but that's exactly what Patrick Kierkegaard from the University of Essex claims is the only logical conclusion one can make from comparing video game sales and violent crime rates objectively.

He's published a study that says there's no evidence to support the claims that violent video game playing causes violence. He says:

"With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence. Instead, violence has declined."

He further claims research into the topic is inconclusive and many existing studies are biased in one way or another. There's need for more comprehensive research, he concludes.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Video game industry self regulation working better than in any other entertainment industry

Every year the FTC conducts a secret shopper study on various entertainment products at leading retailers to find out how well the retailers are enforcing the ratings found on the products. 13- to 16-year-old "undercover shoppers" try and buy R rated movie tickets, R rated DVDs, unrated DVDs, PAL music CDs and M rated video games. The FTC has been this since 2000.

Today the FTC released its 2008 secret shopper study results.

And boy, are they an impressive win for the video game industry!

20% of the underaged shoppers were able to buy an M rated game. That compares favorably to ALL other products in FTC's study. 36% were able to R rated movie tickets, 47% were able to buy R rated DVDs, 51% were able to buy unrated DVDs, 54% were able to buy PAL music CDs.

Not only that, but the video game retailers have improved their enforcement year after year, from 86% in 2000 to 20% in 2008. Since 2000 the movie theatres, for example, have not improved their ratings enforcement practically at all while the other retailers have all improved roughly 50% within the 8 years.

Even more impressive was that the only video game specialty chain store included in the study (GameStop / EB Games) refused to sell M rated games to the kids 94% of the time. Not one retailer scored higher in this study on any product group.

The study shows undeniably that the self regulation within the video game industry and the video game retailers is working exactly as intended. There is no need for expensive and restrictive (as well as unconstitutional) legislation.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Harvard Business Review on what massively multiplayer online games can teach business

Harvard Business Review has a feature article on an 8-month study on leadership in games and work commissioned by IBM and conducted by Seriosity. The full report can be downloaded from Seriosity's website.

IBM is trying to answer a question of what kind of changes do business leaders in an increasingly distributed and virtual business environment need to prepare for and what kind of people would be best suited to lead in that kind of an environment. They went about studying potential impacts of such changing business environment by studying the behavior of large guilds and their leaders in World of Warcraft.

The study has a number of conclusions, well summarized in the HBR article and in the executive summary of the research report:

Conclusions include the following: leadership in the games includes all skills currently identified in the Sloan model, but puts a premium on the dimensions of Relating and Inventing. Leadership in the games happens fast, it encourages risk taking, it promotes temporary rather than permanent leadership roles, and there are numerous opportunities for leadership practice. The most important conclusion, however, was that game environments make leadership easier. Critical leadership features in game environments include virtual economies, transparency of metrics, and connection methods for inter-group communication.

We conclude with predictions about the future of games and leadership in the enterprise, including comments about how games will highlight qualities of digital interactions increasingly important for online leadership, and qualities of leadership unique to games.