This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 5, 2007

Computer Gaming Costs Employers

We estimate that computer gaming is costing United States employers millions of dollars every year. According to a recent survey of computer gamers, 24 percent of white collar workers admitted to playing during work hours.

The most critical finding is the frequency with which these workers play. Over half (53 percent) said they play at work at least once a day. Seventy-nine percent said they play at work several times a week---or more. Eighty-four percent said that, on average, they play casual games at work for between 15 and 60 minutes each day and 11 percent said they play casual games at work for an hour or more each day.

PopCap Games, a leading developer and publisher of casual games, headquartered in Seattle, Washington surveyed their customers. Of the 7,102 respondents, 2,842 or 40 percent were identified as "white collar" workers and 35 percent of CEOs, CFOs, and other senior executives indicated they play at work. About 14 percent said that they play during business meetings and conference calls.

Worthy of note is that PopCap's white collar computer gamers are wealthier than most. Of the white collar casual gamers responding, 65 percent indicated they earn USD$50,000 or more in annual income---compared to 53 percent of all casual gamers. On top of that 22 percent said they earned USD$100,000 or more per year. They are also well-educated with 58 indicating they have college degrees. Most (91 percent) white collar gamers are age 30 or older, while 68 percent are 40 or older and 39 percent are 50 or older.

White collar workers play casual games at work, because they feel a need to decompress from their high-stress environments. Eighty-four percent of the respondents cited stress relief as a benefit of taking a short game break; while 52 percent said they felt "more confident, more energetic, more productive, and/or more mentally focused" after gaming.

Our forecast: more employers will begin to crack down on their employees. Some will discover the cost of game playing at work and offer counseling and other ideas for reducing stress that do not hurt productivity. Moreover, some enlightened employers will look for ways to incorporate gaming into daily work.

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