WoW-ing Business in the Future?

Ok, let me get this straight. IBM wrote and article about how MMORPG’s can demonstrate the future of business communication and leadership, and think that World of Warcraft, as well as other games, can help advance those future fundamentals?

If the future of business looks like communication in WoW, then count me out.

First of all, a majority of the gamers found in WoW are not the same crowd of people that play Second Life. For the most part, everyone who plays WoW are geeks who love to play games and have medieval themes (or are fans of the Blizzard series). I know that sounds biased, but read me out.

An article written by Sarah Anderson tackles the possibilities of the addictive behaviors of the World of Warcraft. In an interview with a player named Alyssa Adams, Adams talks about her experiences meeting up with people in WoW:

“She describes [her WoW-playing friends] as young men between 20 – 24 years old, some with degrees and most with part-time jobs, but none are enrolled in school. … ‘I know many of them smoke weed, so they are permanently high and permanently in the game; they’re just not in reality,” she said. “And there are tons of people like that too. That game will screw you over.’ ”

The online communities in these games show that, even though there is leadership involved in being the head of a Horde clan or running a campaign, the people in front of the computer screen do not benefit from these leadership roles. The guy in the office who’s quiet and does his work without talking to anyone could also be the guy commanding armies of Orcs and Blood Elves to slaughter the Alliance at night. It may make him a leader in game, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still being anti-social in real life.

At least with a game like golfing, the social activity of playing a game against each other can have some limit towards the competition involved. In WoW, you have two choices: you’re either with your co-workers, or you’re against them. If you’re working with them in WoW, it’s hard to discuss business matters while fighting a dragon. On the flipside, would anyone care about the new quarterly numbers if you’re in the middle of a raid against each other?

I think that business and gaming should be like church and state – separated.


IBM, “Virtual Worlds: Real Leaders.”

Sarah Anderson, Game on: World of Warcraft. The Daily of the University of Washington.


~ by Cliff Huizenga on October 23, 2007.

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