Embedded Games like ‘Café World’ in Social Networking sites! Good or Evil?

I’m going to narrate a story here. Story belongs to a guy working in a multinational IT company. He gets up early from bed, goes to office, opens up the Browser, enters Facebook.com! Here comes another headache for IT companies; access to Social Networking sites during office hours. Old issue huh! Yes old issue but if you work in IT field, you may be already aware of gazillion of ways to “Bypass the Corporate Proxy” and access those so called “Blocked sites”. And this time, the problem is even bigger! The Social Networking sites are equipped with more sophisticated weapons (the embedded games hosted on them). The easy accessibility of Smartphones at workplace is not helpings things by much either!

This new genre of this kind of gaming is called “asynchronous” or “appointment” gaming. In these, the user need not have to be online while playing with his/her buddies. The low-intensity engagement has made games such as FarmVille, Cafe World, Restaurant City, Pet Society, and Happy Aquarium — developed by firms Zynga, Playfish, Crowdstar and Slashkey — popular among employees who often log on during office hours.

Embedded Games in Social Networking sites! Good or Evil

According to a recent survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, about 12.5 percent of productivity in the corporate sector is misappropriated each day by social networking sites. And to add, we have these games. According to experts:

What we are seeing is that more and more people and organizations are recognizing the productivity lost so probably more chief information officers are blocking Facebook applications,” Rebecca Wettemann of Nucleus Research said.

Sebastien de Halleux, CEO Officer and co-founder of online game creator Playfish said, “Asia is growing at a faster pace than other regions. We had no idea that it would spread so fast… when we had 100,000 users after one month, we thought it was the biggest success ever. Now with 60 million users we think this is only the beginning of something much bigger.

According to a survey on “Effects of social networking sites on productivity” conducted by Boston-based Nucleus Research, nearly half of office employees in the United States access social networking sites at work, which leads to an average loss of 1.5 percent of total office productivity. At least 20 percent of total users of Facebook (the count is as high as 350 million) play online games.

Companies are trying hard to cut down the access to social networking sites in the company premises. But, strong supporters of these games do exist.

Anand Tatambhotla, a consultant at an advisory firm in Bangalore, says playing online games is akin to taking a break to chat or smoke a cigarette, only better.

Psychiatrist Santosh Chaturvedi of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore agrees. “Playing these games is like a break, without actually taking a physical break. It changes the mindset and when the person comes back to their original work, it might actually improve their concentration and productivity,” he said.

To add a little twist at the end, I too work in a Multinational IT company and I too play these games (Café World precisely!). And I find this a good way for taking a break from work. What about you? What do you think about the games? Do share your score if you’re in Café World. 🙂

Happy Playing (Working!) 😉

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