Online Skill Games – Mind-Sharpening or Time-Wasting?

Play Skill Games OnlineThis question as to the value of online skill games is one you might not want to put to your immediate boss. He or she may come down heavily on the ‘time-wasting’ option. Then again, they might not be all that keen on your taking a whole hour for lunch or having Christmas Day off.

A recent survey has proved that stress relief is the single biggest reason as to why adults indulge in online games. The same survey has also concluded that bosses who are vehemently ‘anti’ online skill games are a principal cause of the stress in the first place.

The rise in the popularity of online games of skill is nothing short of a modern day phenomenon. Trend watchers suggest that its growth is four times the speed of growth in internet use itself. If this trend continues unabated they’ll be more people playing online skill games than having internet access. I can foresee droves of frustrated gamers wandering the streets, knocking on doors to find a kindly person who’ll give them ten minutes of free broadband access to play online Sudoku. Hey – who said anything about ‘free’? Charge them £10 a minute. It’ll be the going rate by then. (Some UK airports have their eyes on that tariff already).

So what is the attraction of playing a skill game online when you really should be getting on with your work? Well, the answer’s in the question. It’s about ‘not getting on with your work.’ From our school days we remember that ‘not getting on with your work’ was usually more fun than ‘getting on with your work’. Whoever heard of a teacher shouting ‘START messing around and STOP getting on with your work’!?

An online skill game can be over in a minute or two, and it represents a departure from the predictability of one’s work pattern. For some office-based workers – particularly in the Financial sector – watching figures jump around on a screen and reacting with a frenzied phonecall to a ‘stressy’ client is tantamount to a skill game anyway. Shame you can’t ‘zap’ the figures – or indeed the client.

Some deskbound workers download a set of ‘cyber weaponry’, and attack their desktop icons with machine guns, chain saws, hand grenades and (in the advanced version) staplers. This virtual violence is to be encouraged if the alternative involves executives assembling their own actual arsenal at home – as per classic ‘loner’ profile. (‘He was very quiet, kept himself to himself before he shot all those people. Bit of a loner really. Grew tomatoes’). I was attacked by a bunch of loners once.

But possibly I digress. Is the playing of online games a sharpener of minds? Again, the experts (where would we be without them?) suggest that indeed they are. Some have called for an enlightened office culture where online skill games are actively encouraged – though not for 70% of the working day, as espoused by some extremists. There is every indication that a spot of online recreation of the clean and ethical variety is a good pressure release and general ‘refresher’, like the one on your tool bar.

But what about competition? Well, competing against oneself is fine as far as it goes. I used to play ‘Subbuteo’ against myself – which is possibly too much information. A remarkable games portal has emerged where you can challenge not only Colin from Bought Ledger in the next office but anyone in the world who’s also online. You can challenge friends, colleagues abroad, ex-colleagues, family members and indeed total strangers from all over the world. As someone whose nearest experience to skill games online was trying to buy rail tickets, I am amazed at how much fun I now have with it.

UVME is a games site attracting a lot of attention, mainly because of the huge earning potential it offers. But if you just want to play online skill games against friends, for free or for small amounts of cash ($3 max), then it does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. Turning it into an income stream is simply an option for the more entrepreneurial games player.

But, hold on – aren’t we all time wasting? Maybe not. 8 out of 10 bosses (who expressed a preference) would want you to execute your work duties rather than playing ‘Fruit Frenzy’ on UVME. But isn’t your boss missing the point? How many of us, on our deathbeds, are going to say (or whisper) ‘I wish I’d spent more time in the office.’? Exactly! What we’re far more likely to say is ‘I wish I’d given more time to the people I cared about … and that I’d beaten my hi-score on ‘Arcade Ducks.’

This article was written by Alun Maxwell, an ‘infopreneur’ with a keen interest in online games of skill as well as online lotteries and mlm ‘attraction marketing’. He is also a freelance roleplayer and trainer for several blue chip companies – assisting in their executive training programmes.,,

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