Was Google’s Pac-Man Ploy a Costly Distraction?

Pac-Man was one of the early classics that helped spawn a flood of other video games. But unlike the later generations of gory shoot ’em ups, Pac-Man harkens to a simpler time of limited sound and multimedia effects and easy play — gobble or be gobbled is about the only rule players needed to know.

As Datamation reports, Google decided to honor the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man by making the game available at its site. The results of that move are in.

Every once in a while, Google livens up its spartan home page to take note of significant anniversaries and notable birthdays. On Friday, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, one of the first video games, Google embedded a playable version of the game above its main search box. Great fun, right?

Not so for businesses. A company called RescueTime, a developer of time management software, has estimated the gambit resulted in some 4.82 million wasted work hours.

If that sounds like a lot of lost productivity, RescueTime points out it could have been a lot worse because Google hadn’t made it obvious that visitors could actually play the game. Many visitors to Google’s site last Friday may have been momentarily distracted by the Pac-Man art, but could have missed the virtual, free “insert coin” button that let users begin playing the game, RescueTime founder Tony Wright said.

Read the full story at Datamation:

Did Google’s Pac-Man Celebration Gobble Productivity?

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