For decades, smart companies have encouraged team-members to play together.  Usually such activities, like softball in the local park or ping-pong in the break room, require that everyone be in the same physical location.

However, in today's globalized work environment, team members can live and work thousands of miles away from each other, making it impossible for them to play together, in any meaningful way.

Enter virtual reality, specifically a recently-debuted game, Star Trek: Bridge Crew.  In the game, four players (who can be located anywhere in the world) play four distinct roles: helm, weapons, engineering and captain.

In a previous post, I commented on the way that Star Trek, though fictional, actually provides some valuable leadership lessons.  Combining that with a sense of fun seems like a natural match. 

Here's the trailer for the game but you need to watch it with the proviso that the four players don't need to be in the same room:

 

"Our driving goal from day one was to create a highly social game that allows people to feel like they are truly together, on the bridge of a Federation starship, even when they may actually be across the country from one another," explains David Votypka, senior creative director at Ubisoft.

While it was certainly possible in the past for geographically-dispersed team members play video games across the Internet, VR allows the replication of real body movements to be reflected in a shared environment. As a result, "the players share a very strong sense of social presence."

Votypka believes that the experience of being a bridge crew in VR could extend beyond entertainment and into areas such as corporate team building; especially in a world where teams are often spread around the country or even the world.

In fact, Ubisoft has already experienced business partners come together in the game and work together through complex scenarios, an activity that transcended the basic development work.

"After all, whether you are executing your corporate strategy or executing Klingons in space... it takes a lot of communication and coordination in order to succeed," says Votypka.

Published on: Jul 21, 2016
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.