Are you ready to take a plunge into the world of online gaming?
For years, online gaming has been tapping into its potential. As of 2022, there are approximately 1 billion gamers worldwide. Further, the online gaming revenue forecast 2023 is a whopping 26.14 billion USD. Why? It successfully combines entertainment with real-world collaboration efforts.
We have witnessed this growth journey and concluded that it's more than just a game — it's a new way of shaping our reality. That’s why we’re hitting the play button and showing you how to introduce digital play to enhance collaboration.
The Power of Digital Play in the Corporate World
Right from global corporations to budding startups, leaders are realizing the value of gaming to foster collaboration and build stronger teams. It is because of coworkers strategizing and solving problems in a shared environment. Gaming isn't just fun and games; it's an investment in a solid, more cohesive workforce.
Here are some benefits of introducing digital play in the workplace:
Breaking down communication barriers
Playing online games for distributed teams helps reduce communication barriers organically. When teams strategize to conquer quests, there’s a free flow of information and open communication that overcomes geographies, departments, and hierarchies.
Digital play sparks creativity since players are introduced to different scenarios. We must think outside the box to overcome challenges, collaborate with our team players, and innovate strategies. Solving these problems collectively requires brainstorming sessions which are great sources for fresh and novel ideas.
Gaming nurtures trust between people. Over time, colleagues realize each other’s strengths, weaknesses and how they adapt to situations. This builds rapport and deepens interpersonal relationships. When we defeat a common opponent and share victories, it solidifies our bonds and instills confidence in each other.
The synergy teams develop via online gaming results in higher productivity. In fact, we surveyed our active players and found that teams are 20% more productive post-online gameplay versus after traditional team-building activities. A team’s collaborative efforts and refined communication can streamline workflows like gaming.
Involving online gaming for team-building can help our employees tackle tasks efficiently and meet targets without difficulty.
The Science Behind Gaming and Collaboration
Gaming being a catalyst for collaboration isn’t simply an opinion but is rooted in scientific evidence. So, let’s look at studies that highlight the impact digital play has on various aspects of work:
Ms. Lakshmi Jagad (2011) from Georgia State University did a study on Online Gaming and Teamwork. It included 202 respondents and the results showed that teams with democratic leadership had a positive correlation to gaming as opposed to an autocratic leadership style.
Research by Shaffer et al. (2004) on Video games and the future of learning threw light on how video games act as a learning opportunity for players since they have to enter new worlds and can enjoy novel experiences. They very rightly stated, “By creating virtual worlds, games integrate knowing and doing. But not just knowing and doing. Games bring together ways of knowing, doing, being, and caring: the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identities, and shared values that make someone an expert.”
Another study was done by Badatala et al. (2017) on The effects of playing cooperative and competitive video games on teamwork and team performance. Their sample size was 60 and they were assigned to one of these experimental conditions: no video game playing, cooperative video game playing, and competitive video game playing.
After conducting 20 trials, the results showed that the teams who played cooperatively scored the highest while the competitive players scored the lowest. This underscores that we can introduce collaborative gameplay to build teamwork and performance.
Digital Play's Impact on Collaboration: User Perspectives
Quite like online gaming arenas, modern workforces also have diverse communities. This means we must cater to varying needs and interests. For example, while a certain group may enjoy one-card pull Solitaire, other groups may need more challenging games like three-card pull Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, and Freecell.
Here, our job is to create an atmosphere where teams feel challenged during gameplay but also focus on collaborating with their peers to strategize and beat the clock or the opponents.
Our platform allows teams to embark on daily challenges and aim for the top spot in monthly leaderboards. But since not everyone is a pro, we also have customizable settings, hints and undo options for early-stage players. Such challenges and user-friendly features have helped us successfully strengthen team bonds and introduce healthy workplace competition.
Our user data confirms the same. A whopping 68% of our users play multiplayer sessions. 52% have fostered strong equations with their gaming partners. We’ve seen 70% of the users consistently play our daily challenges with 55% showing improved cognitive skills.
Expert Views and More Real-World Examples
In a TED Talk on Gaming can make a better world, Jane McGonigal, a game designer, and author, stressed on gaming’s immense potential in bringing people together to solve complex problems. Her insight emphasizes how the collaborative skills we pick in gaming quests translate into everyday challenges, reshaping our approach to teamwork.
Atlassian, a frontrunner in collaboration software, follows this concept too. The company employs gamified strategies to enhance collaboration and team alignment. They've turned project management into a game, infusing tasks with fun, competition, and achievement elements. It’s called Kudos.
Employees get kudos for specific activities which they can use to level up. The results are undeniable — teams work cohesively, communicate seamlessly, and achieve goals with renewed energy.
The Atlassian example illustrates how gamifying even small elements at work can seamlessly integrate into team building and collaboration strategies. It drives creativity, promotes healthy competition, and nurtures community.
It's a paradigm shift that moves from conventional collaboration practices into an interactive and immersive journey.
Actionable Insights for Teams and Businesses
To harness the potential of online gaming for real-life collaboration, follow these steps-
- Identify objectives: Determine why you’re incorporating gaming as an activity. Is it to foster communication, improve problem-solving skills, or boost morale? Once you decide your aim, align the strategies with team needs.
- Curate the games: Choose games centered on teamwork, strategic thinking, and open communication. Identify games that were existing amplify strengths while also working on weak areas.
- Decide challenges: Create challenges that require team collaboration and communication. Quests and missions are great for team building, while daily challenges are ideal for habit forming and long-term camaraderie.
Tips for productive gaming sessions
- Dedicate specific gaming hours: Allocate slots for teams so that it doesn’t hamper work and employees can blow off steam to stay productive during peak hours.
- Mix fun and learning: Reiterate that these activities are not only for fun but also a learning experience. Open with brainstorming sessions for strategies, set the challenges, and end the sessions by asking them for key takeaways.
- Encourage healthy competition: This is a great way to get more employees to engage in activities. Create visible leaderboards and set rewards for achieving goals.
- Blend teams: Keep changing teams to avoid monotony. Try to get cross-functional teams to form teams too for better collaboration and inclusivity.
Finally, we need to collect employee feedback to fine-tune these sessions and get the best out of them.
Digital play is a great way to shape real-world collaboration between remote and dispersed teams. While entertainment may be at the forefront, it silently fosters camaraderie, patience, strategic thinking, and colleague trust.
That’s why team leaders and HR personnel must welcome online gaming as a regular activity to create cohesive units and build interdepartmental rapport.