I'm talking here about a special subcategory of videogames: World of Warcraft, Everquest, Halo. These games have three crucial features.
First, they require large human capital investments. For example, in MMORPG (massively multiplayer on-line role-playing games) like World of Warcraft, the player spends countless hours creating a character with special talents, skills, money, and other resources. Other games require the player to learn to navigate around huge imaginary hazard-filled worldds.
Second, they provide outputs that are close substitutes for real-world goods and services. Indeed, there are valuable commodities that individuals in post-industrial economies can achieve more easily through gaming than market or household production. As noted gaming expert David Wong writes, satisfying work requires autonomy, complexity, and connection between effort and reward, noting:
Most people, particularly in the young gamer demographics, don't have this in their jobs or in any aspect of their everyday lives. But the most addictive video games are specifically geared to give us all three... or at least the illusion of all three.
Há uns tempos que estou para escrever um post sobre o tema "porque é que as pessoas se cansam enquanto trabalham?" (relacionado com esta discussão); em parte terá a ver com isto.