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Employers Shun MMO, FPS Gamers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments
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Believe it or not, some employers frown on gamers, especially those who play FPS titles and MMORPGs.

At least, that was the initial thought of this news piece before returning to the source and discovering that most media outlets covering the same topic - even the New York Times, G4TV, and Kotaku - got the whole thing wrong. While the heading is indeed true to some degree, the purpose behind this blog was not to cause waves in the gaming industry, pointing fingers at employers and possible discrimination against a World of Warcraft player, but merely an excerpt from a longer conversation that somehow became blown out of proportion.

A blogger, identified by the name of Tale, re-quotes a conversation clip he wrote in a previous post:

"I met with a recruiter recently (online media industry) and in conversation I happened to mention I'd spent way too much time in the early 2000s playing online games, which I described as "the ones before World of Warcraft" (I went nuts for EQ1, SWG and the start of WoW, but since 2006 I have only put a handful of days into MMOG playing - as opposed to discussing them - I've obsessed over bicycles and cycling instead).

"He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100 percent because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc. I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players."

Although the comment comes from one Australian recruiter during a conversation over lunch, the underlying message is still perfectly clear whether it's from one person or an handful of company executives: gamers, especially those that dump hours upon hours into MMOGs, tend to be unreliable and unable to put 100 percent into their job--no not the job of leading a raid. One respondent to the blog claimed to conduct interviews and hire/fire employees "all the time," saying that as long as the games don't impact performance, he doesn't really care. The respondent even commented that MMO players were no worse than those that pick up hookers, smoke pot, or sing on the church choir.

"Actually the choir guy was the worst, because the @#$%! kept asking to leave early to make rehearsals. I liked the whoremonger and pothead while the churchmonkey, umm, decided to quit," added the respondent. He also went on to say that he would rather avoid hiring married people with young children. "If it weren't illegal, I'd hire the unkempt surly gamer with a neckbeard over the married professional guy with a lovely wife and infant at home any day of the week."

Another source outside this particular blog recently spoke out about threats from his employer because of gaming during his lunch hour. In fact, he claimed that not only was he banned from the Internet, but could no longer bring his Blackberry Curve into the building "because it too has an Internet connection." Apparently, gaming used to be big in the company years ago, with the employers and employees playing a high-profile PC golf game from Electronic Arts. Eventually the employers moved on to other things, but a handful began to play other titles including the Doom, Half-Life and Unreal series. The source said that eventually he was the sole "hard core" game player save for employees who played Solitaire and other casual games, and was threatened to be fired if his game playing didn't cease.

"It didn't make sense," claims the unnamed source. "All of a sudden the policy changed without notice despite the fact that I only played the games during my lunch hour. My activities were never secret. But ever since the Columbine incident, one company owner in particular started treating me different even though he was one of the bosses who kicked off the gaming-at-work incentive in the first place. Next thing I know, I'm slapped with a warning, and my collection of games had to be uninstalled and removed from the premises. What's really messed up is that other employees are seen playing card games during working hours, but nothing is said to them."

Do recruiters and employers discriminate against certain gamers? It's certainly possible, especially when a lack of sleep and a lack of focus come into play. There's an imaginary level of immaturity that comes with game playing, a less-than-serious aura more identifiable with kids and older teens. Many gamers realize this, and would rather not reveal their game playing habits just as porn addicts wouldn't want to admit their sins to fellow church members. "If I were playing an MMO, I would never let a potential employer or recruiter know about it," says another respondent to the forum post. "It's a good red flag for employers, like the GED."

Could MMO gaming be considered as an addiction? That's quite possible as well, and if employed gamers show that the only thing on their minds is the next mob raid, and they're spending valuable time trolling game-related forums, employers will consider the "addiction" as a conflict of priority.

[How's your level 80 Death Knight coming along, Kevin?--Ed.]

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  • 14 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 3:59 PM
    Who Why the hell is someone telling their future boss, "I like t play online games!!!" ?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    LAN_deRf_HA , December 24, 2008 3:25 PM
    Why is the news always a week behind on this site.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 3:28 PM
    why is this news
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 3:55 PM
    Seriously...human is as human does...these "employers" are a joke in themselves. No one ever does something 100% unless it utterly benefits us, so if we got unrelenting money then the job would get done..but this happens not. Your nothing but a number so the relationship will always reflect that..period.
  • 14 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 3:59 PM
    Who Why the hell is someone telling their future boss, "I like t play online games!!!" ?
  • 4 Hide
    cl_spdhax1 , December 24, 2008 4:01 PM
    funny, the us army spent millions trying to on attract and recuiting fps gamers, paintballers and alike.
  • 7 Hide
    customisbetter , December 24, 2008 4:09 PM
    I told my Boss at the interview i like games and i make sure my system is always running the fastest possible to ensure i get the performance i payed for. In an environment where i would have to know what is the problem on customers computers, that is considered a skill.

    I got hired.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 4:11 PM
    UHm.... First off, an employer has every right to limit you to productivity focused apps on your company issued PC as well limit your internet usage of their pipe to work related tasks. Anybody who complains about stringent IT policy in regard to acceptable use and software is ignoring the environmental needs of their employer to be secure and maximize productivity. If you don't think your job is paying you enough and that justifies screwing around at work, then find a better paying job you enjoy.
  • 3 Hide
    kamkal , December 24, 2008 4:36 PM
    have to agree with wackydan

    most employers are a joke

  • 3 Hide
    kamkal , December 24, 2008 4:58 PM
    kamkalhave to agree with wackydanmost employers are a joke

    oops i mean dmntd

    btw whats with the grey writing
  • 2 Hide
    squatchman , December 24, 2008 5:02 PM
    I don't actually know any WOW players that have real jobs. Most of them use the school excuse, but one in particular failed out of college and works 20 hours a week as a bus boy with the rest of his time spent with the orcs and elves of azeroth. Lives with his parents etc. etc. etc.

    The moment something becomes all you think about, is the same moment that you become useless as an employee.
  • 5 Hide
    theubersmurf , December 24, 2008 5:37 PM
    This is a by-product of Jack Thompson's media attention grab, even though the man who commited the Virginia Tech shootings wasn't a counter-strike player, he managed to demonize it by publicly saying he was, under the guise of being an expert. Not only was he not an expert, but the guy who did shoot upVT
  • 5 Hide
    theubersmurf , December 24, 2008 5:44 PM
    didn't play. The attention he garnered on the topic, the claims on media networks in which he was called an expert, have caused it to be demonized. The horror stories associated with MMOs are not uncommon either, the Korean who died...

    The whole thing is just frightened mother's syndrome (fms as I like to call it) Where stay at home mothers with too much time on their hands watch too much lifetime and WE, getting progressively paranoid about non-existant stalkers and circumstances, and look at a glossy way at what is said on Fox News and think it's real, without any critical examination of it. They get motivated, and real life incedents come about from their actions/fears/speaking on the topic...It engenders fear culture.

    Women, please don't take it seriously, it's a joke (the fms stuff) It's really fear culture I'm talking about...
  • 3 Hide
    theubersmurf , December 24, 2008 5:46 PM
    Actually, I should have called it PParanoid mothers syndrome so I could have called it pms :p 
  • 9 Hide
    DM0407 , December 24, 2008 7:11 PM
    Why is this even a story? If you want play games on your break then bring your own laptop, go out in the space you own (your car) and find an internet connection that isn't your company's.

    Its their internet, their computers... If you paid me to clean your house and I insisted on using your utilities on my lunch break you might be a little upset too.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 8:56 PM
    For those commenting on the guy gaming during his lunch break, notice its not just that he is being told to stop but that it is a complete reversal of the policy of just a few years ago where it was encouraged.
  • 4 Hide
    sparky2010 , December 24, 2008 9:07 PM
    reminds me about this retarded article i read somewhere.. corporate big shots "found out" that being happy in a work environment leads to better productivity/efficiency.. so it started out by trying to cheer employees up and quickly spiraled into "you're either the happiest person on this planet or get the %#^& outta here pal!"... lol...

    which is why i'll probably shoot myself if i ever end up working in a large company.. gimme small business anyday!
  • 0 Hide
    Joe_The_Dragon , December 25, 2008 2:05 AM
    Putting games in the break room only may be a good half-way to do it.
  • 3 Hide
    zodiacfml , December 25, 2008 2:36 PM
    doesn't apply to all employers.
    if i owned a similar company and think WoW is too addictive then i would do the same, yet it doesn't make me right or wrong.
    probably wrong but am still the boss.

  • 3 Hide
    trevorvdw , December 25, 2008 4:59 PM
    Idiotic. All MMO players are not the same. What next, find out who uses Mac and not hire them because they're all hippie pot smokers? Give me a break.
  • -1 Hide
    noahjwhite , December 25, 2008 5:03 PM
    I find this article interesting for many reasons. I do believe that people are generally discriminated against when their gaming habits are reveled. Is gaming an addiction? I don't know... I can honestly say that I spent hours playing MMO's (sometimes when I shouldn't have). I have a fairly serious job as an anesthetist and I have (on 2 occasions) logged on in the middle of a long operation. Is this wrong...most people would think so... but my contemporaries usually either read books or (shocker) fall asleep. Is my head totally in the game or the operating room? It's hard to say. But I stay awake... and honestly. Gaming helps me do that.
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