Gamers, society, and problem-solving

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An article in The Chronicle of Higher Ed, The Game of Life, about Jane McGonigal who "says that gamers, with their exceptional ability to collaborate, can learn to solve problems like poverty, climate change, a failed education system, and much else." 

Interesting idea.

Is the gaming population becoming more diverse than it used to be?

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In terms of diversity, it all depends on how you define "games". I was just talking about this with my students, and told them to be wary of people throwing statistics around about 'gamers'.

On one hand, some people claim 80-90% of gamers are male. If the investigator is examining the sales of "AAA" games (typically what you would find for $40-$60 in Best Buy, played on computers or gaming consoles) this statistic is fairly accurate.

Then another investigator comes out and claims that gamers are nearly equal, 50% male and 50% female. If the investigator is including games such as Solitair, mine sweeper and other 'casual' games, as well as more of the social games that are emerging on Facebook, this statistic is ALSO fairly accurate.

I do think the population as a whole is more diverse. Much of that has to do with both the Nintendo Wii (family-oriented gaming system) and social games that are being designed for a broader audience.

Jane has a book coming out soon and also has an interesting TED talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

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