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Employers Discriminate MMO, FPS Gamers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 7 comments
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Believe it or not, some employers frown on gamers, especially those who play FPS titles and MMORPGs.

At least, that was the initial thought of this news piece before returning to the source and discovering that most media outlets covering the same topic - even the New York Times, G4TV, and Kotaku - got the whole thing wrong. While the heading is indeed true to some degree, the purpose behind this blog was not to cause waves in the gaming industry, pointing fingers at employers and possible discrimination against a World of Warcraft player, but merely an excerpt from a longer conversation that somehow became blown out of proportion.

A blogger, identified by the name of Tale, re-quotes a conversation clip he wrote in a previous post:

"I met with a recruiter recently (online media industry) and in conversation I happened to mention I'd spent way too much time in the early 2000s playing online games, which I described as "the ones before World of Warcraft" (I went nuts for EQ1, SWG and the start of WoW, but since 2006 I have only put a handful of days into MMOG playing - as opposed to discussing them - I've obsessed over bicycles and cycling instead).

"He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100 percent because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc. I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players."

Although the comment comes from one Australian recruiter during a conversation over lunch, the underlying message is still perfectly clear whether it's from one person or an handful of company executives: gamers, especially those that dump hours upon hours into MMOGs, tend to be unreliable and unable to put 100 percent into their job--no not the job of leading a raid. One respondent to the blog claimed to conduct interviews and hire/fire employees "all the time," saying that as long as the games don't impact performance, he doesn't really care. The respondent even commented that MMO players were no worse than those that pick up hookers, smoke pot, or sing on the church choir.

"Actually the choir guy was the worst, because the @#$%! kept asking to leave early to make rehearsals. I liked the whoremonger and pothead while the churchmonkey, umm, decided to quit," added the respondent. He also went on to say that he would rather avoid hiring married people with young children. "If it weren't illegal, I'd hire the unkempt surly gamer with a neckbeard over the married professional guy with a lovely wife and infant at home any day of the week."

Another source outside this particular blog recently spoke out about threats from his employer because of gaming during his lunch hour. In fact, he claimed that not only was he banned from the Internet, but could no longer bring his Blackberry Curve into the building "because it too has an Internet connection." Apparently, gaming used to be big in the company years ago, with the employers and employees playing a high-profile PC golf game from Electronic Arts. Eventually the employers moved on to other things, but a handful began to play other titles including the Doom, Half-Life and Unreal series. The source said that eventually he was the sole "hard core" game player save for employees who played Solitaire and other casual games, and was threatened to be fired if his game playing didn't cease.

"It didn't make sense," claims the unnamed source. "All of a sudden the policy changed without notice despite the fact that I only played the games during my lunch hour. My activities were never secret. But ever since the Columbine incident, one company owner in particular started treating me different even though he was one of the bosses who kicked off the gaming-at-work incentive in the first place. Next thing I know, I'm slapped with a warning, and my collection of games had to be uninstalled and removed from the premises. What's really messed up is that other employees are seen playing card games during working hours, but nothing is said to them."

Do recruiters and employers discriminate against certain gamers? It's certainly possible, especially when a lack of sleep and a lack of focus come into play. There's an imaginary level of immaturity that comes with game playing, a less-than-serious aura more identifiable with kids and older teens. Many gamers realize this, and would rather not reveal their game playing habits just as porn addicts wouldn't want to admit their sins to fellow church members. "If I were playing an MMO, I would never let a potential employer or recruiter know about it," says another respondent to the forum post. "It's a good red flag for employers, like the GED."

Could MMO gaming be considered as an addiction? That's quite possible as well, and if employed gamers show that the only thing on their minds is the next mob raid, and they're spending valuable time trolling game-related forums, employers will consider the "addiction" as a conflict of priority.

[How's your level 80 Death Knight coming along, Kevin?--Ed.]

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 26 December 2008 14:01
    One of the reasons that i read something completly not gaming related at work breaks rather then gaming forums. There is idd a culture of looking down at people who play mmorpg, even though one can argue that there are other more damaging addictions (i do consider mmorpg an addiction of a sort).
  • -1 Hide
    Peezee , 27 December 2008 05:53
    I don't get this, but I can definitely say one thing: gaming isn't an addiction. There's nothing addicting about it. Lack of self-restraint is one thing, addiction is something else - there's no physical connection, nothing to inject into your veins, smoke or swallow about playing too much.

    On that subject, I'd like to direct people to this video:

    And if you don't wanna watch it... Well, don't go making foolish claims that MMO or FPS gaming can be addicting. It's only a lack of self-restraint or resolve.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 28 December 2008 22:50
    How can MMOGs develop useful team leadership? Interacting online is so less rich than face to face, with body language, facial expression and voice tone all playing a part of staying in control. I would avoid anyone that said they picked up "leadership skills" from MMOGs as they obviously don't know how much harder it is to lead in real life.
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  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 30 December 2008 15:18
    to Peeze: =) Hey no need to go in to denial state with me, i'am a wow player myself and i've tryed couple of other mmorpgs out there. I do need to say though that video does not have any substantial contents to it. All that young fellow does he claims that something is wrong (in his case - nonexistance of psych dependecy) simply based on the fact that he says so.

    p.s. Psychological dependency is a dependency of the mind, and leads to psychological withdrawal symptoms (such as cravings, irritability, insomnia, depression, anorexia, etc). Addiction can in theory be derived from any rewarding behaviour, and is believed to be strongly associated with the dopaminergic system of the brain's reward system (as in the case of cocaine and amphetamines). Some claim that it is a habitual means to avoid undesired activity, but typically it is only so to a clinical level in individuals who have emotional, social, or psychological dysfunctions (psychological addiction is defined as such), replacing normal positive stimuli not otherwise attained (see Rat Park study).

    A person who is physically dependent, but not psychologically dependent can have their dose slowly dropped until they are no longer dependent. However, if that person is psychologically dependent, they are still at serious risk for relapse into abuse and subsequent physical dependence.[citation needed]

    Psychological dependence does not have to be limited only to substances; even activities and behavioral patterns can be considered addictions, if they become uncontrollable, e.g. problem gambling, Internet addiction, computer addiction, sexual addiction / pornography addiction, eating, self-injury, or work addiction.
  • 0 Hide
    sgtmattbaker , 10 October 2009 23:22
    This is nonsense. Playing games does not mean you are childish or irresponsible. If an employer asked me if I played video games and made a decision based partly on that I would give them a good "**** you". That is in invasion of my privacy and I should be able to do whatever the hell I want when I am not at work. When you have a company telling you what you can do when you are not at work that is called slavery. If you hire someone and they are irresponsible you fire them. You don't hire them just because they participate in "X" activity.
  • 0 Hide
    sgtmattbaker , 10 October 2009 23:27
    Any addiction is a problem. Lots of people get "addicted" to lots of things. For many people it would be a significant annoyance if they weren't able to watch television a couple hours a day. For some it is playing games and others it is reading. Everyone has a hobby that they enjoy and spent a lot of time on. There are people that couldn't stand not working at least some everyday. If someone is addicted to working is that any better than addicted to games (addicting meaning you enjoy it enough that if you have free time you would prefer to do said activity)? It might be more productive in how other people view you but frankly I don't model my life around other people's views of productivity. Being productive is not what life is about, enjoying yourself (and allowing/helping others to do the same) is.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 7 January 2011 14:33
    How can MMOGs develop useful team leadership?
    Any good leader knows that however; a great leader knows how to lead without authority. This lesson is taught every day in the cyber realm – whether in MMO’s or FPS’s. There is very little reason for any individual to comply with requests of another random, faceless character. The result, increased communication skills required to influence a crowd of strangers to accomplish the same objective. (Defining: Leadership without authority) This skill is by far more important than reading body language, especially in modern cyber-aged work spaces.
    Leadership is situational, as many different situations dictate certain styles. For instance, abrasive - direct communication may be necessary in a military, tactical environment. Respectively, a soft, politically correct approach may be more appropriate in the office. Notably both approaches are vastly different yet effective for the situation. The very same leadership skills developed in MMO/Gaming are transparently obvious when aligned to their real-life counterparts.