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Total Engagement: How Games and Virtual Worlds Are Changing the Way People Work and Businesses Compete

Book Description

Can the workplace be more productive by including avatars, three-dimensional environments, and participant-driven outcomes? This grounded and thought-provoking book by Byron Reeves and Leighton Read proves that it is not only possible, it is inevitable.

Implementing components of multiplayer computer games in the workplace will address a host of age-old problems. Games can not only stem boredom and decrease turnover, but also enhancee collaboration and encourage creative leadership. Games require extraordinary teamwork, elaborate data analysis and strategy, recruitment and retention of top players, and quick decision making. Recreating some elements of games - such as positioning tasks within stories, creating internal economies, and implementing participant-driven communication systems - can not only boost employee engagement but overall productivity.

Of course, the strong psychological power of games can have both positive and negative consequences for the workplace. That's why it's important to put them into practice correctly from the beginning - and Reeves and Read explain how by showing which good design principles are a powerful antidote to the addictive and stress-inducing potential of games.

Supported by specific case studies and years of research, Total Engagement will completely change the way you view both work and play.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Chapter One - Introduction
    1. The Basic Idea of Total Engagement
    2. Two Trends
    3. Alignment of Personal and Organizational Goals
    4. What Gamers Want
    5. Gathering the Evidence
    6. Who Should Think About Games and Work?
    7. What You Will Get from the Book
  6. Chapter Two - The Game Tsunami
    1. Games Are Big
    2. What Do You Do in an MMO?
    3. Popular Games
    4. Games Versus Virtual Environments
    5. Why Do People Play?
    6. Gamer Sensibilities
    7. The Game Revolution in the Context of Media History
  7. Chapter Three - “Work Sucks”
    1. Seeking Engagement
    2. Demographic Imperatives for Productivity Gains
    3. Analyzing Work
    4. Mapping Games to Work
    5. What Is the Difference Between Real and Virtual?
  8. Chapter Four - Ten Ingredients of Great Games
    1. Ten Game Features to Guide Real Work
    2. 1. Self-Representation with Avatars
    3. 2. Three-Dimensional Environments
    4. 3. Narrative Context
    5. 4. Feedback
    6. 5. Reputations, Ranks, and Levels
    7. 6. Marketplaces and Economies
    8. 7. Competition Under Rules That Are Explicit and Enforced
    9. 8. Teams
    10. 9. Parallel Communication Systems That Can Be Easily Reconfigured
    11. 10. Time Pressure
    12. The Value of an Ingredient List
  9. Chapter Five - Virtual People
    1. Why Use Avatars at Work?
    2. What’s So Interesting About Avatars?
    3. Are Avatars Good or Bad?
    4. Guidelines for Avatar Use
  10. Chapter Six - Virtual Money
    1. It’s the Economy, Stupid
    2. Choice Under Scarcity
    3. For All the Rest, There’s Money
    4. What’s Fun About Economic Activity?
    5. Prescription for a Fun Economy
    6. Work Needs a Better Economy!
    7. Industrial-Strength Play Money
  11. Chapter Seven - Virtual Teams
    1. You Would Die for Dragon Kill Points - (Well, Maybe Your Avatar Would)
    2. Collaboration in the Real World
    3. What’s Hard About Collaboration and Teamwork?
    4. Attacking Collaboration Problems
    5. How Can Games Help?
    6. Mass Collaboration
  12. Chapter Eight - Virtual Leaders
    1. Virtual Worlds, Real Leaders
    2. What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader in Real Life?
    3. Traditional Leadership Skills Also Work in the Games
    4. The Characteristics of a Good Leader in the Games
    5. Leadership Differences in the Games
    6. Leadership Environments
    7. The Future Is Here
    8. Beyond the Obvious About Virtual Versus Real
  13. Chapter Nine - Play Is Not the Opposite of Work
    1. Play and Productivity
    2. What the Experts Say About “Play”
    3. Summary
  14. Chapter Ten - Caught Between Fact and Fiction
    1. The Dots Get Faces
    2. Popular Ideas About the Unrealism of Media
    3. The Media Equation
    4. A Sense of Presence
    5. Other Evidence That Games Produce Real Responses
    6. Summary
  15. Chapter Eleven - Danger
    1. Good Versus Powerful
    2. Vinnie’s Game
    3. The Pros and Cons of Stress
    4. Mitigation
  16. Chapter Twelve - Tactics for Change
    1. Tactic 1: Build a Conceptual Map Linking Games and Work
    2. Tactic 2: Study What Others Are Doing with Games at Work
    3. Tactic 3: Experiment with Bite-Sized Use Cases - That Address Real Pain Points
  17. Notes
  18. Index
  19. About the Authors