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Fortnite/Minecraft Thoughts

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Andy Black

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My kids play Fortnite occasionally, as well as Minecraft.

I read Fortnite had 12m people on some online event recently?

Just read here that Fortnite has 250m users:


I don’t know much about the gamer world other than my kids seeming to spend as long watching YouTube videos of people playing games as actually playing champs themselves. I personally don’t get it but I know this isn’t uncommon.

I’m curious what we can learn from the likes of these big online multiplayer games, their communities, and all the peripheral platforms (Twitch etc).
 

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VicFountain

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The gaming world in my honest opinion is very dangerous. If I didn't start reading self-help books (such as MJ's ones) I would still be playing CS:GO probably.

I spent 16 years of my life playing videogames and okay, kids have to have fun, but what most people don't get is that the creators of videogames have the only interest of engineering addiction triggers so every player becomes addicted to the game and starts spending money to achieve MORE and feel a sense of clout.

There was a time I was skipping school to play MW2 to rank up and gain virtual achievements. Back then in 2011 games weren't as dangerous as they are today. Triggers weren't a thing and the gamification model wasn't as strong as in today's videogames.

Nowadays the greater the triggers and the gamification model, the more success such companies get. At the cost of kids' brain and the dopaminergic system.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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The gaming world in my honest opinion is very dangerous. If I didn't start reading self-help books (such as MJ's ones) I would still be playing CS:GO probably.

I spent 16 years of my life playing videogames and okay, kids have to have fun, but what most people don't get is that the creators of videogames have the only interest of engineering addiction triggers so every player becomes addicted to the game and starts spending money to achieve MORE and feel a sense of clout.

There was a time I was skipping school to play MW2 to rank up and gain virtual achievements. Back then in 2011 games weren't as dangerous as they are today. Triggers weren't a thing and the gamification model wasn't as strong as in today's videogames.

Nowadays the greater the triggers and the gamification model, the more success such companies get. At the cost of kids' brain and the dopaminergic system.

Just my 2 cents.
Yeah, as a parent my main concern would be that I don’t know enough about that world. I can’t be the only parent wondering how to restrict access, and how to keep enough tabs on what the kids are up to to protect them online. Trying to setup family Microsoft accounts seemed overly confusing and I’ve still not fully done it (and I used to be an IT techie).
 

Mr. Roboto

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Children and addiction aside.

Minecraft was a game made at the right moment. Markus didn't treat it like a business. It was a 6-month project that out of nowhere was getting traction. Even the people on TIGSource (indie game developer forums) were overly enthusiastic. Him being open-minded with the distribution model (one of the first games using early access model), easy piracy and using a programming language (Java) that opened a door to modding accelerated the success even more. Gaming YouTube was on the rise and Minecraft became a go-to game. A lot of this was accidental and IMO impossible to replicate. I have to give credit to Markus for using this opportunity as soon as it appeared.

Minecraft's success is almost like porn to other game developers.
 

VicFountain

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Yeah, as a parent my main concern would be that I don’t know enough about that world. I can’t be the only parent wondering how to restrict access, and how to keep enough tabs on what the kids are up to to protect them online. Trying to setup family Microsoft accounts seemed overly confusing and I’ve still not fully done it (and I used to be an IT techie).
That makes sense.
Honestly, as a 20 years old kid, I'm super angry at gaming companies because I now know what their goals are and how sad everything actually is.

The gaming world is full of people who rationalize "It's not that bad" and stuff, but it can actually become bad if you're not careful because again, today's games easily form addictions if you have no other goals in real life.

All of a sudden, achieving a virtual goal might become the focus of your life. And that's extremely dangerous if you ask me. Especially if you don't want to die with 0 real life achievements. That's like being trapped into a box. You will struggle leaving once the habits are formed.

My parents used to severely restrict my videogaming habits when I was younger and I ended up resenting them back then, but I now thank them for that.

Honestly, I have no idea how to restrict access. All I know is that as a kid my parents called a technician to put a certain program that restricted access to 30 mins a day on my PC (and blocked all adult content) but somehow I managed to bypass that system by looking on YouTube. And I was like 10 years old.

The sad fact is that if kids are motivated enough, they'll find a way to bypass the boundaries.

If I had kids, I would teach them the value of achieving stuff in the real world, and create a positive association with trying and failing, as long as it's in the real world and not in a FPS videogame.

On the other hand, I would create a subtle operant conditioning that would make them naturally repulsed by videogames, and instead, keen to achieve goals in real life (simple reinforcement/punishment learning). I know this might seem evil, but I'm sure they would go much further in life compared to their peers who play videogames 24/7.

I really advise you to read a book on Pavlovian and operant conditioning, cause there lies almost everything about the power of associative stimuli and the formation of habits.
 
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People like to gather around a common, curated set of activities.

We do it here in this forum, and gamers do it around building forts and punching zombies in Minecraft.

And some gamers might or might not have company Minecraft servers that spin up from time to time.
 

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My kids play Fortnite occasionally, as well as Minecraft.

I read they had 12m people on some online event recently?

Just read here that Fortnite has 250m users:


I’m curious what we can learn from the likes of these big online multiplayer games, their communities, and all the peripheral platforms (Twitch etc).
As a Twitch Affiliate, I am completely amazed at how far gaming has come. There are certainly negative aspects such as addiction and worker exploitation in the industry, but that is another talk.

I remember Kelsey Grammer from Frasier talking fondly about watching his kids play Minecraft. Minecraft really brings out the artistic side of players. The building aspect is astonishing. Fortnite is a shooting game and more hand/eye coordination related, although there are some cool artistic things you can do with Fortnite. The amount of money and content involved is insane.

Video gaming should be no exception when it comes to having viewers/followers/subscribers, etc. Ad companies are seeing this as well. The popular rap artist Travis Scott performed a live concert using Fortnite. People who are adjusting and changing to the times are noticing this trend. Some ESPN channels actually broadcast e-sports, an actual sanctioned sports league for gaming. The gaming prizes for 1st place in some of these Fortnite competitions are in the millions range.

This all goes back to the kid selling lollipops at school. I think entrepreneurs can really utilize gaming to make money. Kids back in the day (and now) would collect in-game currency or products that were rare and valuable and sell them to others for actual money. Certain games require rigorous leveling up and players would pay people to do that for them. If you can look past the "childish" nature of gaming, there is certainly opportunities scattered about.

The real task comes into how you end up parenting. My parents always frowned upon gaming as a waste of time and I didn't have the personality to rebel. I certainly don't want to sway you into going one way or another. I'd hope that you would encourage the positivity in these video games while educating them on the dangers of the industry. I'd hope you or any other parent takes the extra time to learn about video games instead of just writing it off.
 

Madame Peccato

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Fortnite is holding concerts (They had a Travis Scott event around 2 weeks ago, and there's a new one planned somewhat soon I believe) with models of the singers recreated in the game. I think this is a cool idea and a new way for artists to engage with their fans. Video of the Travis Scott event below.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
View: https://www.youtube.com/embed/zZpowQlrNt8
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

As far as what makes multiplayer games popular, it's a mix of competition and community.

If you play League of Legends or Fortnite (arguably the two biggest multiplayer games at the moment) you will most likely find a lot of people who play the same games at your school, or in your class, or even among a lot of social circles that have young people.

Some universities have League of Legends teams, and their biggest tournament, Worlds, attracts millions of viewers every year. There are also plenty of amateur leagues held all over the world.

Dota 2 is similarly popular viewership wise (however, it has a lot less players because of various reasons that are irrelevant to the topic at hand). CounterStrike: Global Offensive is another esport that is extremely popular.

There are a lot of money that are being thrown around the esports world. People are starting to realize that they pull in big viewership, and that you can make a career out of it nowadays, if not as a player as a caster, or as a coach / analyst, or even more specialized roles (I know that some Dota teams relied on a chef who knew how to calibrate their nutrition based on the fact that they spent upwards of 10 hours sitting at a pc playing videogames).

As for starting up your own Youtube or Twitch community by streaming or creating video content...I don't recommend it. Twitch is crazy competitive, and unlike real-world business, it's hard to gauge how to be better and make people interested in your content if you are a small content creator.

My suggestion would be to create educational content for the big multiplayer games. There's always more need for educational content, especially since it's hard to come across good content in the field, even in games that have been estabilshed for years.

You don't need to be great at the game, but you need to understand its fundamentals, and to be able to structure content and make it digestible to the average person who doesn't necessarily play the game every day.
 

Madame Peccato

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Sorry for the double post, but this 100% needs a new post because it is important.

The real task comes into how you end up parenting. My parents always frowned upon gaming as a waste of time and I didn't have the personality to rebel. I certainly don't want to sway you into going one way or another. I'd hope that you would encourage the positivity in these video games while educating them on the dangers of the industry. I'd hope you or any other parent takes the extra time to learn about video games instead of just writing it off.
This is crucial to any parent who is raising kids in today's world. My plea to parents is to pay attention to what you buy to your kids. Videogames are perfectly fine, but you need to realize that not videogames are equal, and not all videogames are supposed to be played by anyone.

Much like movies, each videogame has a specific demographic it targets, and letting your child play a title like GTA 5 when they are still in elementary school is a big no no. Just like you wouldn't let your kid watch a movie about drugs and violence at a very young age, you shouldn't let them play a videogame about drugs and violence.

There are millions of videogame out there and not all of them are about violence, do some research before buying. Open up YouTube and search "[title] + gameplay" and watch for about 10 minutes, and judge whether or not you'd want your kids to play the game. That's all you need to do to be a responsible parent when it comes to your kids and videogames.
 

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Don't blindly limit the access. Educate, set the boundaries and help them develop better habits instead.

Everything is for humans.
Kinda.

Our oldest started thinking it was funny to prank people. He’s watched too much YouTube that we thought was harmless. It’s like letting a bunch of teenagers pass on their values to your kids instead of you.
 

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Kinda. Our oldest started thinking it was funny to prank people. He’s watched too much YouTube that we thought was harmless. It’s like letting a bunch of teenagers pass on their values to your kids instead of you.
That really adds layers to the troubles of monitoring and parenting. Some games are wholesome themselves, but when you watch Youtube videos or chat about them on Twitch, there can be some lewd behavior by the community. I'm not sure what to tell parents about video games other than educating yourself on ALL aspects of the game, community, platform, content, etc. will help, but never 100% puts you in the clear.
 
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The article I linked to was explaining how Fortnite was like a Facebook for a younger demographic. I was thinking about the community and social aspect. After reading some of the comments about how games are designed to be addictive I realise games and social media are similar in darker ways too.
 
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there can be some lewd behavior by the community
I’m actually less worried about that. That’s something I can educate the kids about.

I’m more concerned with my kids thinking it’s ok to call people names, brag, laugh at other people’s expense, etc.

Also, some of these YouTube videos don’t have a purpose. If the kids have been watching games for a while I’ll often tell them to put on a cartoon so they have something with a story in it.

We just sat through the classic “Guns of Navarone” movie. I do marvel at the storytelling in the older movies, and the kids are equally enthralled in the same way i was when I saw it as a kid.
 

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I've been playing quite a bit with the lockdown in NZ, more as a social network than gaming as such. Generally grouped up with nephews in evenings to discuss things and the game sort of happens in the background. I often couldn't remember where we placed most games.

If we have three people and need an extra for a squad of four we just let the game fill the place and we stay in party voice channel with just us-having to put up with a random lottery of kids/loud teens in the normal channel isn't worth it. It's more just annoying rather than quite as toxic as the chat in games with an older demographic like CS GO which you definitely wouldn't want the kids playing.

They're really pushing the social network side of it more with Party Royale now where it's events and social rather than any shooting. That was always the kind of logical move since they don't want to be pegged as simply a shooting game when there are so many other shooting game options their competitors can pay huge sums to promote on release. It's much harder to compete with Fortnite's reach in the events area than in gameplay.
 

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I recently got back into gaming b/c of corona, mostly for the community aspect.

People are no longer playing single player games. It's all online.

Those dopamine triggers don't work if it's not in relation to other people.

Comparing yourself to others. Like facebook, as you said.

In my opinion, all that really matters is who is in my online social circle.

I game with a couple of business owners, and closed one of the biggest deals I've done in the past 5 years, with one of them. I equate it to golfing. Some people close deals on the green. Others do it virtually.

It's all an extension of what is going on in the "real world."

Also, some of these YouTube videos don’t have a purpose.
That's where you'll lose them.

It's the same connection you and I get from watching a story with character development. Coming to a hardship, then overcoming it. In a different format.

More often than not, the gameplay videos are working towards becoming better at the game. Getting to the top of the leaderboard. Which involves self reflection and criticism.

I'm a glass half full guy on games. I'm biased, though, because I grew up with one foot in the new world. But also one in the old.

If I have kids one day, I'd rather them play games, than sit like zombies absorbing what the box tells them.

I’m more concerned with my kids thinking it’s ok to call people names, brag, laugh at other people’s expense, etc.
Unfortunately, this is part of gaming culture. Anything competitive will have trash talking. So if you approach it from that perspective, you have a better chance of getting to them. Imagine you're a football coach.

I could write about this all day, and there's some fascinating science behind it. And numerous opportunities.

Honestly, your best bet is to play some of these games yourself, and see what all of the rage is about. It's similar to how our parents may have taken an interest in our hobbies back in the day.

Plus its showing, people who overcome obstacles together, become closer. Which is what gaming is all about.

TV will never do that. They'll become closer to the character on screen first, before people next to them on the couch.
 

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Esports are the future. Real sports are the past.

You said you don't get why they watch other people play games on Youtube? After all, why don't they just play themselves?

The reason they do is the same reason we watch people play real sports. We love watching real sports games and highlights. After all, why don't we just play it ourselves?

You can say, "Well I'm too old to play real sports all they have to do to play esports is move their thumbs." This is not true. Plenty of people watch sports that anybody can play like golf or tennis.

They watch it because it's entertaining to watch the best of the best play the game. They also watch it for the commentary. Have you ever watched a real sport with no commentators? It's horrible.

Esports are the future because it's less effort, more variety, and quicker. There are only so many real sports you can play, but there are infinite possibilities of video games that can be made.

Real sports are hard.

I have to physically exert myself. Get tired. Get hurt. Get hot and sweaty. Find a place where I can play. Find some friends who also want to play at the same time. Somehow meet them all there. And if I'm no good at the sport I have to get in shape and practice consistently to develop my skill just to be competent.

All of that sucks.

I'll just hop on Fortnite. All of my friends are already on there. I'm already at home. It's cold/hot outside anyways. It's more fun and I'm better at it than soccer. I can play anytime. No risk of getting hurt. Sports are slow and boring anyways.

I believe MJ calls that the value skew.
 
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Veloce Grey

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Honestly, your best bet is to play some of these games yourself, and see what all of the rage is about. It's similar to how our parents may have taken an interest in our hobbies back in the day.
Andy's Old Person Fortnite Server-for those of us who've had enough of getting killed by kids whose reaction times haven't withered horribly with age and lifestyle choices...
 

VicFountain

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I believe MJ calls that the value skew.
He actually calls it an hyperreality lol
It depends from which perspective. From a supply perspective, yes, it's a value skew.
From a consumer one, it's an hyperreality and nothing more.
 

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You said you don't get why they watch other people play games on Youtube? After all, why don't they just play themselves?
To add on to what you said, there's also the time factor. I still have interests in some games, but I don't have the time to dedicate a dozen hours a day to play. I can watch a series of someone playing a character where they condense dozens or hundreds of hours of playtime into a 15-minute video.

10 years ago I didn't understand why people watched other people play video games. We would straight up have guys have YouTube videos of Minecraft gameplay up all day at work. Now I get it.
 

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The book "Addiction by Design" by Natasha Dow Schull speaks about the early days of such addiction at gambling machines. The moving from mechanical to electronic machines with the sole focus to keep people at the machines for longer. Cue adult diapers for gamblers and other products that have sadly resulted from this. Not to mention proof of how the social media (and I'm assuming gaming) industries have learnt from these gambling addiction principles to design it into their products too. There is some solid research into it. The "infinite scroll" on most social media news feeds is one example mentioned of this intention to keep people glued to their screens for longer.
 

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I’m curious what we can learn from the likes of these big online multiplayer games, their communities, and all the peripheral platforms (Twitch etc).
I'm way outside the gaming world, so here are some of my observations from outside looking in.

1. Opportunity Cost
Minecraft is a chance to build something, to create, to explore a world.

But it's a fake world.

So the energy of these young people is largely sucked into building stuff and gaining cred in a virtual world.

At the age of 16, Franz Schubert composed this piece (and had already composed 90 others):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR4OM6oBIgA


At the age of 19, Blaise Pascal succeeded in creating the Mechanical Calculator, something many other people had tried to do and failed.

At the age of 15, Louis Braille created the famous system of raised dots that allow the blind to read.

At the age of 19, George Westinghouse received what would be the first of many patents with his invention of the rotary steam engine.

How many innovations has the world lost out on because our teenage guys are occupied building minecraft worlds?

Just one 4-minute minecraft video with 232 million views has consumed more than 1900 years of human productivity.

What if all the minds of the gamer community were all bent towards solving problems in the real world, rather than being sucked into the dopamine trap of gaming addiction?

2. So many things to borrow

From a business standpoint, there's a ton of lessons to be learned from gaming.
  • Gamify things. We have a TON of knowledge about neuroscience and what keeps people motivated to focus on a task. Why aren't we bringing more of that knowledge into business and education?
  • Create a community. Both gaming and social media show us how much power there is when people can talk to each other, share with each other, and even one-up each other.
  • Use Levels and Badges. Some people will try to get to level 2 just because there IS a level 2 to reach. Some people will work for badges, even if those badges don't actually cost you any money or give them anything other than a visible status symbol. What if you had your customers vying for "level 2 status" with you? "Hey, I'm a level 2 customer with Amazon. What about you?" LOL
3. Selling your soul
When I think about being the CEO of a company that intentionally designs a system to be so addictive that a person will wear adult diapers rather than get up once in a while, that's just slimy to me. Every business owner (gaming or otherwise) will have to make their own decisions about where to draw the line and say, "I'm not going there."
 

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I'm way outside the gaming world, so here are some of my observations from outside looking in.

1. Opportunity Cost
Minecraft is a chance to build something, to create, to explore a world.

But it's a fake world.

So the energy of these young people is largely sucked into building stuff and gaining cred in a virtual world.

At the age of 16, Franz Schubert composed this piece (and had already composed 90 others):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR4OM6oBIgA


At the age of 19, Blaise Pascal succeeded in creating the Mechanical Calculator, something many other people had tried to do and failed.

At the age of 15, Louis Braille created the famous system of raised dots that allow the blind to read.

At the age of 19, George Westinghouse received what would be the first of many patents with his invention of the rotary steam engine.

How many innovations has the world lost out on because our teenage guys are occupied building minecraft worlds?

Just one 4-minute minecraft video with 232 million views has consumed more than 1900 years of human productivity.

What if all the minds of the gamer community were all bent towards solving problems in the real world, rather than being sucked into the dopamine trap of gaming addiction?

2. So many things to borrow

From a business standpoint, there's a ton of lessons to be learned from gaming.
  • Gamify things. We have a TON of knowledge about neuroscience and what keeps people motivated to focus on a task. Why aren't we bringing more of that knowledge into business and education?
  • Create a community. Both gaming and social media show us how much power there is when people can talk to each other, share with each other, and even one-up each other.
  • Use Levels and Badges. Some people will try to get to level 2 just because there IS a level 2 to reach. Some people will work for badges, even if those badges don't actually cost you any money or give them anything other than a visible status symbol. What if you had your customers vying for "level 2 status" with you? "Hey, I'm a level 2 customer with Amazon. What about you?" LOL
3. Selling your soul
When I think about being the CEO of a company that intentionally designs a system to be so addictive that a person will wear adult diapers rather than get up once in a while, that's just slimy to me. Every business owner (gaming or otherwise) will have to make their own decisions about where to draw the line and say, "I'm not going there."
It's a double edged sword. I got my first taste of business from video games when I was 12. Lessons, which I still apply to everything I do.

On the other hand, I played with the most brilliant person I've ever met, a couple of years ago. I just checked up on him after reading your post. He's still playing, though he's become a semi-successful streamer since then.

However, the way this guys mind works is like nothing you've seen. He can crack any puzzle. Read any battlefield. And manage 100s of people under his watch. Not just manage, but train them.

I guarantee if he was working on a cure to cancer he could discover one. Or at the very least take a business from $10M to $100M in just a couple of years.

Instead he has a couple of million views on twitch and youtube.
 

Madame Peccato

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  • Gamify things. We have a TON of knowledge about neuroscience and what keeps people motivated to focus on a task. Why aren't we bringing more of that knowledge into business and education?
Yes! I could never bring myself to meditate more than for 2-3 days in a row, and then I'd forget or not care at all.

But then I discovered Playne, and it immediately clicked with me. I have now been meditating for 8 days in a row. It explains what meditation is and gives you achievements for meditating:
  • Your fire grows bigger for every day you meditate, but if you skip a day it is extinguished and you have to start from scratch.
  • You can plant seed and they will grow if you meditate, and not grow if you don't.
  • There are numerous achievements that the game keeps track of for you.
  • There are various "game modes" for different types of meditation. Plus ,you can set up a specific background sound, and a timer.
Seeing your world grow and heal by keeping up your meditation streak is absolutely a treat to watch, and it helps you visualize what's happening inside you.

There are many phone apps that try to help with gamifying our life, but I found them rather dull.
 

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I recently got back into gaming b/c of corona, mostly for the community aspect.

People are no longer playing single player games. It's all online.

Those dopamine triggers don't work if it's not in relation to other people.
Then you might like FitMC's Minecraft tales on the oldest anarchy server, 2b2t.

Even though it's not a very gentle Minecraft server, it has quite the story and community history that mirrors TFLF.

For some reasons, FitMC's videos seem very much like a Seinfield email sequence- probably can learn from the gamer folks how to do content.
 

Brad_S

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Jan 4, 2020
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My kids play Fortnite occasionally, as well as Minecraft.

I read Fortnite had 12m people on some online event recently?

Just read here that Fortnite has 250m users:


I don’t know much about the gamer world other than my kids seeming to spend as long watching YouTube videos of people playing games as actually playing champs themselves. I personally don’t get it but I know this isn’t uncommon.

I’m curious what we can learn from the likes of these big online multiplayer games, their communities, and all the peripheral platforms (Twitch etc).
Just to reply to this original thread and question. You could answer it more literally. There is a Minecraft Education Edition. Last week, I played a world that was a science lab for school kids. A really cool way for them to start to conceptualise doing experiments without the teacher having to worry about the kids working with some hazardous substances. They also teach about lab safety so kids don't have a false sense of confidence either when seeing these substances in real life. Although most of the substances were not hazardous. So you can literally 'learn from' Minecraft in this case.
 
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Andy Black

Andy Black

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Just to reply to this original thread and question. You could answer it more literally. There is a Minecraft Education Edition. Last week, I played a world that was a science lab for school kids. A really cool way for them to start to conceptualise doing experiments without the teacher having to worry about the kids working with some hazardous substances. They also teach about lab safety so kids don't have a false sense of confidence either when seeing these substances in real life. Although most of the substances were not hazardous. So you can literally 'learn from' Minecraft in this case.
Cool! I got the kids a book on Minecraft modding for Kids. They’ve not delved into it yet, but it’s there.
 

Ravens_Shadow

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When I think about being the CEO of a company that intentionally designs a system to be so addictive that a person will wear adult diapers rather than get up once in a while, that's just slimy to me. Every business owner (gaming or otherwise) will have to make their own decisions about where to draw the line and say, "I'm not going there."
This was the very question I asked at the fastlane summit to people. How do I get over the fact that my company facilitates addiction to games? I'm deep in the video game and film industries working with the largest companies there are. Our software is literal dopamine as it creates a lot of the insane visual effects you might see in a game. I love computer graphics and how advanced it is, and it's such a rewarding challenge. Building a software company around this niche is the hardest thing I've ever done.

It all comes down to people needing to make their own choices. I've been working with video games for over 12 years now on and off in some form or another and being able to create games or visual effects for them is very rewarding. It's the same as a potato chip manufacturer.. I love a good bag of potato chips and I'm glad that they make them instead of the owner having a moral dilemma of making people fat. I'm strong enough to make the choice to not eat 20 bags a week and become a fat diaper wearing adult who plays video games all day. Almost any business can be construed into a slimy light.

Toy manufacturers should stop making starwars merchandise because people are addicted to them and spend all their money on the hottest new items, yet cant pay their rent.

In the end, I've made my peace with it by realizing that I'm benefiting far more people, via general entertainment/enjoyment, than I am harming.
 

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