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The image of today’s gamer is often none-too-flattering: some scruffy slacker wasting the best years of his life on a grungy couch in his parents’ basement, his eyes cemented to a flashing TV monitor, his hands permanently curled around a controller. But that image is far more a pop culture myth than modern reality.
The fact is, gaming is an increasingly important part of the lives of even the most accomplished professionals. Yes, that includes fully-functioning adults with real lives and real jobs, with families and mortgages and the income to sustain them. So the next time you think of today’s gamer, maybe you should think of suits instead of sweats, of credentials instead of couch-surfing.
Read on to learn more about how and why gaming is changing the world of work as we know it!
Medicine’s Next Frontier
One of the most exciting uses of gaming technology is in healthcare. Medical simulations and gamification are increasingly being incorporated in medical schools to train aspiring doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers in subjects like anatomy and the diagnostics.
Best of all, these simulations allow future clinicians to practice complex medical procedures—and the technology is so life-like, replicating the look, sound, and feel of the real thing. So when the time comes to work on a living patient, the simulation-trained clinician has the poise, confidence, and experience of an old pro!
But teaching via simulation isn’t the only benefit of incorporating gaming technology into the medical field. Thanks to the wonders of machine learning, these systems are also amazingly fast and breathtakingly accurate in using advanced algorithms to diagnose patients and develop customized evidence-based treatment plans. That not only promises improved patient outcomes, but it also lifts some of the burden from healthcare providers already faced with surging patient populations and a worsening shortage of trained health professionals.
The Power of Virtual Reality
Simulation isn’t just a powerful gaming technology for the medical industry. In fact, as these technologies continue to advance, so too do the amazing possibilities they’re opening up for other industries, from civic planning to industrial engineering to mental healthcare.
Virtual reality (VR), in fact, has increasingly begun aid in disaster preparedness by developing risk assessments and simulating civic emergencies. As officials and first responders address these incredibly realistic hypothetical scenarios, they develop the skills they need to save lives and limit property losses.
The military is also getting into the VR game, using these technologies for a range of purposes, such as training aspiring pilots on state-of-the-art flight simulators and preparing new recruits for live-fire combat. Virtual reality simulations have also increasingly been used for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in service personnel, veterans, and civilians alike.
A Good Sport
Perhaps the most obvious way that gaming has infiltrated the professional world is in the fact that it has actually created its own sports industry. What was once dismissed as the last refuge of the directionless and the unmotivated has now evolved into a multi billion-dollar industry with an audience larger than that of the Super Bowl!
In fact, eSports are poised to become the world’s most popular sports, their champions the rock stars of the industry, raking in millions of dollars in endorsements, sponsorships, and winnings. In response to this, colleges and universities are even incorporating eSports into their academic and athletics programs.
The Eyes Have It
All this time spent working with gaming technology, of course, can take a toll, especially on the eyes. But it’s not just gaming. From working on a computer to staring at a mobile digital device to watching LED televisions, our eyes are bombarded day and night with high energy visible light (HEV), also known as blue light, which can affect everything from our vision to the quality of our sleep.
As gaming technologies continue to permeate our daily lives, increasingly infiltrating our work space as well as our homes, the risk of blue light exposure will only grow. Enter the fields of optometry and ophthalmology to the rescue!
Thanks to the need created by the proliferation of HEV technologies, the eye care industry has dedicated itself to researching and developing products and treatment strategies to protect this most precious gift, our eyesight, from the demands of our modern technological world.
Gaming today doesn’t at all fit the slacker image of yesteryear. Now more than ever, gaming technologies are taking center stage in the world of professional work. Gaming technologies are increasingly being used to provide unprecedented training opportunities for healthcare providers and military personnel. They are proving indispensable in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Government leaders and first responders are using gaming simulations to develop emergency preparedness plans. And the young eSports industry is drawing record audiences, generating billions in revenues, and forever changing the world of sports entertainment.