Men who play video games instead of working
I’ve had this Washington Post article bookmarked for months, but never wrote a blog post about it.
“When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” he said. “With a job, it’s always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.”
That sounds exactly like something I wrote about World of Warcraft in 2006 (more than 10 years ago!):
… Most people toil away at jobs where they never see any direct benefit from their hard work.
This is where World of Warcraft comes in and meets people’s unmet psychological needs. In WoW and similar games, your status increases slowly but surely every time you play. After so many hours in the game, you can see exactly how many more experience points you have, maybe your level has increased, maybe you have better armor or weapons than you had before. Unlike the real world, where you can work 40 hours of overtime and not even get paid for it, if you put an extra 40 hours into WoW you will definitely have something to show for it. Your status within the virtual world of WoW will have increased in ways you can clearly ascertain.
The question is, are video games the cause of men retreating from the conventional workforce, or a symptom?
I do think that video games, as well as other high-tech diversions like internet, social media, high definition TV, make being out of work more bearable and to some extent demotivates people from wanting to get back into the labor force (which for people without self-actualizing jobs is often unpleasant).