By Patrick Soulliere II
Video games have long been seen as a distraction or an escape: a way for men and women to disassociate from the real-world and battle virtual villains. With any stereotype, there is a lack of knowledge or understanding, and the stigma shadowing gamers is no different; often they’re perceived to be lazy, shy, and introverted. However, a recent study conducted by Elsevier proves quite the opposite, pointing to extracurricular video game habits as a key component in developing valuable job skills like communication and strategic thinking. While most managers probably won’t condone playing Fortnite on the company computer, participating in multiplayer games can teach players a great deal about teamwork. As a lifelong gamer, here are four gaming skills I strongly believe are transferable to professional work environments.
In a multiplayer game, your ability to communicate with your team is the number one skill gamers must master. In a game like Overwatch, for example, you are often communicating with virtual team members you’ve never met in person and must work together to complete a level. In my experience, gamers are incredibly efficient when communicating with each other. They swiftly identify the problem at hand, and as they work together to find a solution, they use codes and abbreviated sentences to react quickly and help their team members.
In an increasingly global society, many professionals work on virtual teams and sometimes have never had an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their team members. Additionally, in management-level positions individuals may be challenged to speak in front of employee groups they may not know directly. Understanding how to communicate efficiently and effectively with a variety of people is an incredibly valuable skill.
When playing a video game, especially a game you have never played before, your ability to be resourceful can make or break your success. With a game like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), your character is dropped down into a virtual world with no real context about how to advance in the game. While you have a general idea of what needs to be done, your resourcefulness and ability to adapt to new surroundings is key to succeeding in the game.
In both a virtual gaming world and a workplace setting, employees need to be resourceful and agile and think outside the box to overcome obstacles and achieve success.
Creative thinking and problem solving
Playing video games can improve both your creative thinking and your problem-solving skills. With a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game like League of Legends, players are challenged to think on the spot, analyzing the situation instantaneously to determine the best solution or outcome. Video games also require players to solve in-level puzzles – with each level and puzzle being different and advancing in the degree of difficulty.
The ability to think quickly and creatively at work allows professionals to find solutions to challenges in more efficient ways, as the best solution to a problem isn’t always the most obvious one. Gaming truly challenges players to be nimble and responsive when finding solutions to issues and roadblocks that arise.
When playing video games, it can be easy to get frustrated and give up. However, the more you play, the more you learn to weather the storm and keep going. Video games tap into our competitive nature, but they also challenge us to persevere. In order to conquer the game, you must have a mindset of determination, and many gamers are really good at mastering that skill.
Often in one’s career, setbacks and obstacles will arise, but employers value the ability to pivot and reassess the situation at hand and then course-correct as needed.
To the outside world, it can be easy to maintain that video games are an utter waste of time, but I would argue that the communication, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills developed and refined while gaming are a huge advantage in the professional world. And for a generation of gamers that will soon be entering the workforce, they’ll see the corporate world as just another level to master.
Patrick Soulliere is the Global eSports Gaming Marketing Manager for Ballistix and is responsible for managing all gaming and eSports-related activities.