The job market today and in the future is increasingly focused on continuous development and deployable skills. Despite a strong traditional misunderstanding of gaming, in recent years there is growing conviction that gaming can contribute to the development of so-called ‘soft skills’ which are useful throughout your career. That has now been confirmed in a study by HR service provider Randstad among 3,763 respondents, in which investigations were made into whether correlation exists between gaming and skills development. 

A total of eight games were analysed: Minecraft, League of Legends, Apex Legends, Public Grounds Unknown Ground (PUBG), Call of Duty: Warzone, FIFA, Fortnite: Battle Royale and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild/Links Awakening/Skyward Sword. The participants were questioned on their experience with the chosen game and could highlight in a list of twelve ‘transferable skills’ which ones they believed were developed by playing this particular game. For each selected skill there was then a diagnostic test based on the experience of playing a specific game, in order to determine the skill level. 

No less than nine of the twelve skills are developed by playing at least one (or more) of the eight possible games: leadership, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, visual perception, multitasking, perseverance, decisiveness, and self-motivation. The three skills for which there is currently no evidence to demonstrate development are problem solving, conflict management, and time management. Further research aims to bring clarity. Based on the theory, it is considered likely that proof will still be found.

self-motivation and teamwork are most commonly developed while gaming

Also, it appeared that self-motivation (5), teamwork (4) and critical thinking (3) are the skills developed in the largest number of games. Among the findings, the strongest connections were revealed between self-motivation and Public Grounds Unknown Ground, leadership and League of Legends, and critical thinking and Warzone.

The game developing the largest number of skills is Fortnite, with no less than six skills (communication, critical thinking, visual perception, self-motivation, perseverance, and teamwork). Fortnite, however, appears only once as having the strongest link between the game and the skill, and that is with visual perception. In comparison, League of Legends can demonstrate the strongest link three times (leadership, multitasking and perseverance). 

Games lacking a clear goal towards which efforts are targeted appear to be less effective in skills development. For example, ‘sandbox’ games such as Minecraft. Despite having very clear goals, the game Zelda even revealed a negative effect on decisiveness. A possible explanation is that the difficulty level in Zelda increases so fast that people do not get further by developing particular skills. Instead they keep up their desperate attempts until finally moving ahead almost by accident. This is rather typical of Japanese games. 

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Based on this research, games such as Fortnite, Warzone and League of Legends offer very relevant opportunities in the world of work. They are very popular games, characterised by a large and lively community (Steam, Youtube, Twitch) and these games lead to the widest development of skills in comparison with other games that were investigated.

Wim Van der Linden
external communication advisor at Randstad