See Mom video games are good.

When I was a kid a remember begging my Mom to let me go over to my friend’s house so I could play Pitfall on Atari. I loved that game. Then Nintendo came along and once again I was begging to go over to my friend’s house to play Tecmo Bowl and later Super Tecmo Bowl (which I still consider the greatest video game ever).

Now it seems that video games are now longer just a way to waste time after school (although I am sure my Mom would still argue this point). In fact they seem to becoming more of a part of the business world every day.

In the October issue of Training Magazine they have an article on Games and Simulations. Particularly they talk about how companies are using a virtual simulation game called Second Life. This game allows people to create a character which can interact with other characters in the game and truly live a second life. You can even put characters in certain situations, such as dealing with an irate customer, to give them virtual experience before dealing with the live thing.

In the spirit of full disclosure I have never been on Second Life. However many companies are using it to help with various training initiatives such as orientation, onboarding, collaboration, and mentoring. I wasn’t surprised to read about companies like Apple or IBM using Second Life in training, but Wells Fargo and Stapoil (A Norwegian Oil Company) have trainings built into this program as well. If the usage of these companies wasn’t enough of a reason to take notice they also talked about Second Life on a recent episode of the Office (so you know it has really arrived).

Even people who doubted the “importance” of these new types of media in the business world seem to be changing their mind. It was not to long ago that Microsoft President Steve Ballmer stated that he thought social networking sites were just a fad. Then Microsoft goes out and buys a substantial stake into Facebook (a social networking site). Who knows what to believe any more?

Virtual worlds seem to be growing all around me. Whether it is social networking sites like MySpace or LinkedIn to virtual worlds such as Second Life, we seem to be headed towards a virtual life. It is no longer about trying to jump over a pit of snakes or pretending I’m Bo Jackson. These new bred of games are becoming more intertwined into the corporate world.

I find myself longing for a time were all you needed to know is the code up – up, down – down, left – right, left – right, A – B, A –B, select, start and you would live forever (Contra was another great Nintendo game).

What do you think? Are these virtual worlds a fad or the future of business?

Justin Martin

Justin started his long career at Verity as a summer intern. After leaving to pursue a degree in human resource management at Western Washington University, he returned to what he describes as “one of the strongest environments I have seen in terms of focus on their employees.” During his time here, Verity has been recognized with multiple awards ranging from employee development initiatives to overall work environment. Justin holds an MBA from Seattle University along with being an honors graduate from Western CUNA Management School and a certified Credit Union Development Educator.

2 Responses

  1. Doug True says:

    Virtual sites such as Second Life are becoming more mainstream. Was watching CSI:NY the other night and the entire episode was based on Second Life with the Second Life logos and specific mention in the show. The show even walked through how to sign up and build your avatar. At the end, CBS urged viewers to sign on to Second Life and visit the CSI:NY location to work in their virtual crime lab. If it is on television it is real – isn’t that what Americans generally think? Waiting for Dancing with the Stars – Avatar version. I need this as I know I don’t have any chance dancing in the real world.

  2. Rob Rutkowski says:

    I just finished reading a book on how to do things in Second Life, but I haven’t made time to do anything with it. There’s a law firm in the UK that’s setting up shop there.

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