Though many naysayers continue to shrug off the serious impact of gaming in our culture, there’s no longer any room for doubt in how it is effecting our economy. A recent article by Leena Rao for TechCrunch highlights a study by the University of Maryland of what is being referred to as the “Facebook App Economy” – Companies like Zynga, Playfish and The Learning Company, who have been producing some of the world’s most popular social games have also been creating a great deal of new jobs during a period when people are in desperate need.
According to Rao, the Facebook App Economy is responsible for creating upwards of 200k new jobs and contributing over $12b in wages and benefits this year alone. The reach of social media is already somewhat staggering – Facebook has well over 700 million registered users and more than 80 million of those users have been plowing fields in Farmville alone.
Other companies are continually finding ways to use gamified social apps to connect with users, so the industry is likely to keep growing. Though things are still difficult job-wise for many in the US, as these companies keep succeeding and expanding, lessons in visual design, analytics, and game mechanics can be applied to business and projects outside of games. As Gabe Zichermann mentioned in the introductory debate for Gamify for the Win at Wharton, “The foundations of the industry that we are laying out to build, the people who are driving this discussion forward are actually changing people’s lives.” If things keep going in this positive direction we might eventually be able to play our way towards more engaged lives and a more stable economy.