Is there a way to harness the popularity of multiplayer online gamers to save energy in the real world ? Professor Byron Reeves, a media expert at Stanford University, thinks there is. The scenario that Reeves imagines is that a player would get in-game feedback from a smart meter which tracks energy usage throughout the player’s house in order to reward the player online. For example, if you turn off a light in an unused room, your house’s smart meter recognizes this and your online player is rewarded accordingly.
The trick is making sure that the game designers find a fun way to align the incentives of the gamers with the social cause. With over 12 million players of World of Warcraft, the social impact could be tremendous.