Jane McGonigal gave an awesome talk at this year's TED2010 on using gaming to make a better world. A few highlights from her talk:
We currently play online games 3 billion hours a week
If we want to solve the worlds problems through games, we need to play 21 billion hours a week.
WOW players have spent 5.93 million years solving the virtual problems of Azeroth. When you think about that in terms of human evolution, that's how long ago our first human ancestors stood on two feet.
The average young person today will of spent 10,000 hours playing online games by the age of 21. The number of hours spent in school from 5th grade through graduation is 10,080.
500 million people playing at least 1 hour of online games a day globally
What are gamers getting good at? 1)Urgent optimism 2) Weaving a tight social fabric 3) Blissful productivity 4) Epic meaning
What do these four things add up too? Gamers are "Super-Empowered, Hopeful Individuals".
Gamers are people who believe that they are individually capable of changing the world, the problem is they only believe they are capable of changing virtual worlds, not the real world.
Gamers are a human resource that we can use to do real world work.