I did have a chance to sit and listen to a panel yesterday on social games with a mix of people who love them and who don’t. And one of the things I really picked up was that players enjoyed having a game that they could play while doing something else.
And for all people gave the example, “While watching TV,” I was thinking, “So they mean while they are at work.”
A lot of time is wasted at work. Some of this is a management issue and is due to the work having genuinely slow periods (i.e. and management not having any good ideas for how to use this time more productively).
I don’t know how common it is for people to actually play games at work. Certainly there’s no shortage of ways to waste time on the internet, and browsing the news or reading a forum or twitter feed is no less of a time waster than playing Farmville, or even off the internet (i.e long chats around the coffee machine, long lunch breaks). I remember in my MU* days I had friends who claimed to play from work; I think it used to be viewed as a sys-admin’s perk.
I also spoke to people yesterday who were involved in trying to block Facebook games from work. And I can understand why. I’m also sure keen WoW players spend plenty of time browsing forums at work, planning their latest tactics, and otherwise doing non-work-related time wasting. And it’s bound to be true for other hobbies also.
I do doubt how effective blocking Facebook or any Internet access can be when people start playing from their smart phones instead. Or just finding other ways to waste time. But I can see it becoming a bigger issue.