So much talk of “gamification” but have you ever thought why work for fun is a kind of activity that has been so successful in video games and in virtual worlds like Second Life? In a paper (“Working for the Man: Against the Employment Paradigm in Videogames”) Steven Poole argues that actually most games mimic a paradigm of wage–slaves type .
“They “hires” us for imaginary jobs, meaningless, that replicate the working structures of the real world”, explains Poole, adding that this model represents a “surprisingly literal achievement” of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer theories, of more than sixty years ago, according to which fun in modern capitalism is nothing but an extension of the work.
If in Italy some singer goes into the chair and supports the odd idea (immediately applauded by employers, of course) that especially younger people should not be paid to work, because basically they are already “earning” experience, as if for them the work was a game, in the United States, a country that maybe has experienced something more of modern capitalism than Italy, no one would dream of claiming that a human resource must be utilized “for free”.
At the same time, btw, players claim to “beat” a game (thus obtaining gratification) when they have been achieved the main objectives. And yet, always Poole added, in most cases these players do just what the game asks them to do, as “good workers” that have nothing more to ask their boss of what the boss offers them.
In a sense, then, “paly” Farming Simulator or engage in work activities in video games and virtual worlds constitutes a form of extension of the real work, even being universally defined “free time”. It is therefore not at all surprising that even in the US (and worldwide) are rapidly catching “gamification” techniques, that try to make work more attractive by adding a layer of fun and not with more financial incentives, or a more active participation of workers in company decisions.
Could it be that the work “ennobles man” but especially if it is made as a game it swollen budgets of always less “happy few” at the expense of a mass of anonymous workers/players who will be deceived all their lives to be able to achieve increasingly more rewarding targets, which in fact are nothing more than a further extension of their work, without any concrete remuneration?
Perhaps the time has come to reflect on the themes of work and play from a point of view less condescending too protected to the needs of capital and businesses, what do you think? If you want to stay up to date on these and other issues related to games and work, you have just to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it e su Paper.li and also on Youtube).