Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I'm going to get a bit... deep here.

I say "deep" because my limited vocabulary hasn't introduced me to the proper word.

I just have a query.

What if you snatched all the gamers in the world. I don't mean the Capcom gamers. I mean the RPG, MMOG, etc. players. Snatch them all up and have them use their time and energy on a single goal.

What's the single goal? I dunno, it could be anything. Save the rain forests. First woman on Mars. Heck, first woman anything. Clean fuel/energy. Doesn't matter. As long as it's something that will otherwise take humanity way too long to develop.

So... considering the world now has... well, a LOT of gamers. What would be the consequence?

Of course, I'm talking about snatching the "time and energy" that the gamers are currently using to play games. Not to do their normal, everyday paythebills jobs.

What could we accomplish?

(Yeah, we're suspending some disbelief here, that gamers would ever get together and do anything at all other than game or talk about gaming)

Let's say you got a legit invitation to be part of such an organization. Gamers United for Peace. Gamers United for Real Space Exploration (GURSE?). Gamers Involved in Making Peace (GIMP?). Whatever. Let's say you didn't have to leave your comfy computer chair to contribute. All you needed to contribute would be: ideas, coding, calculations, a monthly "fee" (donation), and any other bit of time/expertise you could muster.

Let's see. That's... well, around half a million WoW subscribers. Let's just guesstimate: one million worldwide gamers wish to contribute. They'll pay a measly $15 per month, and contribute about 2-4 hours per day, plus about 10-20 on average on the weekends.

Wanna do the math here? Let's ignore taxes and other crap, and assume we're operating as a non-profit organization. That's $15,000,000 per month. Plus, on the low end, 80,000,000 "man hours" per month. That's $180,000,000 per year in cash, and 960,000,000 hours per year. On the high end, 1,920,000,000 hours per year. (yeah, that's about 2 billion). We'll work with the average: 1,440,000,000.

Let's compare that to your "average" job. Say, a 40-hour work week (ignore vacations and whatnot), nets approximately 1,920 hours of work per year for a single worker. That's 1,920,000,000 for a million workers. How about income? A bit tougher, but we could take the national average (I know it'd be much different worldwide), and it's about $32,000 per year (single male householder with no children, as per U.S. Census, 2004). That's $32,000,000,000 total income per year for one million workers.

Obviously, there's a huge difference in "income." Since the monthly donations by our gamers are so small. You might, at first, think that's a bad thing. I mean, we won't have nearly enough money! Actually, it's a great thing! Consider the budgets of government agencies and how much goes into paying salaries. Obviously a lot. So, what's the net result with our analysis? We create as much workforce as a million average regular workers, but instead of us being "out" $32 billion per year, we're making $180 million per year.

Considering how the government is notorious for slacking off when it comes to actual work, and for spending money so flippantly, that it resembles a black hole, you must admit that a system based on "volunteers" is much more desirable.

Of course, if you're reading this, you're probably asking why any gamers would be so stupid as to "pay" to "work." Well, that's an issue, certainly, but consider all the "grinding" gamers do just to get a little farther ahead than their fellow gamers. Just to get that nicer set of gear. Or better ship. Or better anything. All those hours of mindless grinding. With a few hours of bang'em'up pvp or something to keep you interested.

So, just make the work on the "project" interesting and, most of all, rewarding. Those who "grind" more will get their names on plaques. Or cash rewards. Or a chance to do live projects with prominent scientists or others in advanced fields. Maybe job offers. Who knows? The options are endless.

What do you think? Any fundamental flaws in this concept? Any ways to make it better? Will it/ could it work?


Anonymous Billtollo said...

Never work, game players are inherrently too selfish, as a whole. There would be many individuals with in the gaming community that would like the idea, but they would be a minority.

Friday, October 14, 2005 7:10:00 AM  
Blogger Psyae said...

Wow, man, I thought you were dead.

Well, what if you were to reward them? What kind of rewards do you think could entice them to do this? You could actually tap into that selfishness, eh?

Hah, "fish" is in the word "selfish!" Hah!

Friday, October 14, 2005 9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Billtrollo said...

I'm not. Dead, that is. Actually, the one fundemental flaw in your thinking is that all the time spent on gaming is recreation. Sure it feels like work sometimes, but it is ultimately extracurricular. Most people don't really enjoy work and work is what you would really be asking them to do for the real world. No matter how boring grinding is in any MMO game, it is still an escape from the real world for the people playing it. This is why I think the Sims is so popular with the mainstream morons. Cuz they get to escape real life for their doll house fantasy life for a few hours.

I don't think there will ever be a way to tap into the wasted energy of gamers, that isn't in game form. To that end you would have to trick them. Sort of like Ender's Game. Where you have all these people participating in the process, that they think is something else, and to them fun. But, it is really for a practical, productive purpose. The far majority would never do it, given a choice, so eliminate the choice. I leave it to you to come up with the details. I'm just he idea man.

Friday, October 14, 2005 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Billtrollo said...

Damn, I misspelled, "the" with "he". Ruined a perfectly good ending.

Friday, October 14, 2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Psyae said...

Good point.

Could you "trick" gamers into providing assistance with massive scale projects?

I bet you can.

Problem, of course, arises when they find out about it and demand payment for services rendered. Gets very nasy legally then. Both sides will have good arguments. So, ignore the legal aspect.

What tricks would work?

Well, how about a game that's sold with an "interactive USB device" that allows players to control actions in games with mere thoughts, eye movements, voice, etc. And not only that, but also to multitask. Like, how about engage in combat at the same time you chat via voice with your guild, "type" three different instant messages (without using the keyboard or having to manually switch windows), and post a message on a forum thread... all simultaneously (or at least limited by how fast you can think about each one).

I mean, wouldn't you at least "try" that? Hells, I would. So, what's the catch? Well, could be a number of things. Like some way to tap into the raw brain power of these people without them even knowing it or actively thinking about it.

Perhaps as simple as number crunching. Maybe something more complicated, I dunno.

But dontcha just wanna make one of them brain helmets now! Oh yeah, jack in!

Friday, October 14, 2005 2:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Zubon said...

Want an easy trick? Make a fancy version of Progress Quest that is actually SETI@home (or something similar) in disguise. Make a leader board and some forums. Advertise the 'game' a bit. Congratulations, you have a few thousand people devoting processor time to distributed computing.

Who knows, it might work.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 8:53:00 PM  
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Friday, December 30, 2005 8:44:00 PM  

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