This is an area that fascinates me. My son plays a lot of games online and I have noticed a big change in him. I try to be a (responsible) father and do limit his gameplay to just the weekend, and to be fair to him, he does work hard during the week so he can enjoy himself at the weekend….(work hard play hard). He plays football on Sunday so its not like he has no social skills and cannot interact with people; he has lots of friends, mostly older than him (he is 8 years) and is quite popular. Since he has started online gaming, he has learnt a great deal about the world and even astonished me with his level of understanding.
What he plays: FIFA 2013, Call of Duty, Transformers.
Just from these three games his knowledge of geography has improved being able to tell where countries are in and around Russia. His business acumen has developed from knowing how to trade in an auction in order to get a good player for a bad one, his maths has improved from working out how much he has to play with, his knowledge of guns has shocked me as has the fact that he understands what a freedom fighter is as opposed to a terrorist and can swear with precision when someone online decides that rules and common courtesy do not apply to them!!
I am not totally for this type of learning but it is evident (for me) that learning does take place. Here are some links that I came across so have a look and let me know if you have come across anything similiar to my experience from your own lives.