Why should we be taking video games more seriously?
In 2008 Nintendo overtook Google to become the world's most profitable company per employee. The South Korean government will invest $200 billion into its video games industry over the next 4 years. The trading of virtual goods within games is a global industry worth over $10 billion a year. Gaming boasts the world's fastest-growing advertising market.
In addition to these impressive statistics, video games are creating a whole new science of mass engagement which is beginning to revolutionize the way we research and understand economics, human behavior and democratic participation. Games are used to train the US Military, to model global pandemics and to campaign against human rights abuses in Africa.
Journalist and author Tom Chatfield visits the RSA to examine the ways in which virtual game worlds can function as unprecedented laboratories for exploring human motivations, and for evaluating economic theories that it has never been possible before to test experimentally.
Tom Chatfield is arts and books editor at Prospect magazine, and writes on arts, philosophy, media and technology.
His book about video games, Fun Inc., is out now from Virgin Books.