Recently, Lisa Galarneau of Terra Nova asked a question near and dear to my heart: are virtual worlds good for the soul?
While it is certainly easy to fall prey to the tendency to over-hype the “serious” uses of games, Lisa points to both research and anecdotal evidence that indicates ways in which video games and virtual worlds encourage players (using the term loosely) to develop abilities ranging from increased literacy, effective communication and teamwork, and (despite stereotypes of anti-social gamers) greater sociability.
Admittedly, research in this area of “soft skills” is at a beginning stage, with much of the evidence in the form of anedotes, but the increasing volume of data is encouraging. Read Lisa’s blog for more details and check out the latest issue of Games and Culture for more articles on how massively multiplayer games are having a positive impact on our lives.

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