Games for improved sports performance, business model inspiration, and a sense of belonging.

Games for improved sports performance, business model inspiration, and a sense of belonging.

Travel with me to weird and virtual worlds of gaming and e-sports. Experience how avatars can improve athletic performance and how they can help treat injuries. Learn how games are able to cultivate a sense of belonging and how you can borrow some of their ideas for your own communities. Let’s explore how games often have open and scalable business models, which might also be applicable to yours. 

Games can help in sports performance

Avatars can help us improve our athletic performance and help treat injuries.

Research shows that when people see their virtual avatar running, they on average, exercise an hour more in comparison to people who didn’t see their avatar running. —People seem to imitate their avatar’s behavior.

Avatars can also help in rewiring the brain to deal with chronic injuries. When your injured body part moves without pain in a virtual environment, the brain creates new connections, mitigating the prior pain.

In our session on October 25th, we will explore how these and other developments are able to improve sports performance. And there is, of course, more to learn from and explore, like how games are great at community building. 

Games give a sense of belonging

While many old institutions people once belonged to are becoming less and less popular, we still long to be part of something, to belong. Sports always remained a tribe you can belong to. A similar sense of belonging emerged in the virtual world of games. Did you know that 52% of Gen Z gamers experience a sense of belonging in their virtual world?

It’s because people experience the freedom to explore. They can hang out with their friends and just chat. They can experiment being different personalities, and people can escape from the physical world. 

When people experience a sense of belonging, this of course, also reduces the likelihood of people leaving your business. It’s interesting to look behind the curtain and explore the inner workings of such games and their communities. Because it’s both fun to explore it’s mind-expanding, and it makes business sense as well. To see what we can apply to our own communities.

Games can help in business performance

The business models of games operate differently. Often they are infinitely scalable and open, sometimes even combined with composability.

We see the openness and scalability back in most of the free-to-play games like League of Legends. A game that still manages to make 1.7 billion in yearly revenue. Which is quite okay for something which is free. They make money when people buy cosmetic upgrades or participate in tournaments. 

A call center company applied some of the same gaming mechanics that League of Legends applies, like leveling up and being able to gather skill points. This call center saw improvements across the board by just slightly gamifying its employee experience. 

Let’s talk data: They were able to reduce their onboarding time from 160 hours to 14 hours. Participating agents outperformed peers by 23% in average call handle time. Boosted customer satisfaction by 9%. Interesting statistics, you could say.

Please join me on a thought exercise. Imagine famous sports protocols give their methods away for free for other people to iterate and build their own training, with part of the revenue flowing back to the original creator.

That is what game publisher Valve did by allowing two gamers (Gooseman and Cliffe) to build a modification on top of their game. This new game which yours truly also loved to play is called Counter-Strike. In its latest iteration, it gathered over 24 million unique players. To give you an idea of its size. Their tournament has a prize pool of over 21 million. The modification became its own standalone game and continues to be one of the most played and watched games to this day. The adaptation now makes Valve more money than their original game did. 

Imagine that your IP is free for other people to continue to build on. That’s the type of composability that comes naturally to digital builders. It’s a fascinating world to get inspired by.

Learn, explore, have fun, play

There is so much to explore. I hope I have aroused your interest for the 25th of October. Expect a wild exploration of what is happening in esports and gaming and how you can use it to expand your mind. And how to apply the learnings in your own business. So we can all keep on playing the game.


Robert Overweg

Innovation catalyst, Photographer in virtual worlds