SERIOUS GAMING is a serious business and is manifested across a number of sectors including: Educational Games, Simulation, Virtual Reality, Alternative Purpose Games, Edutainment, Digital Game-Based Learning, Immersed Learning Simulations, Social Impact Games (Change, Games for Good) and Persuasive Games.
Application across various sectors has been hypothesised in a taxonomy by Ben Sawyer and Peter Smith.
Serious Gaming Taxonomy
[source: Serious Games Initiative]
Serious Gaming Applications
Serious Games (those designed not only for entertainment) have been used by the military for decades. In the late 1970s, the American Military introduced the commercial board game Mech War to the Army War College. This was a simulation of tactical combat in West Germany and Asia. Atari’s BattleZone also drew attention and in the early ‘80’s the US military ordered modified versions of the game to use for training.
A recent study by IDATE reported on a number of serious gaming projects across a number of market sectors including:
|Training & Teaching||Mass Media Communication||Corporate Communications||Healthcare|
The input questions were:
- What are the stakes associated with the development of the Serious Gaming industry: know-how, development costs, economic models, industrial and publishing strategies?
- What are the recent changes in the value chain of the Serious Gaming industry?
- Who are the main players involved in Serious Gaming?
- What practices and audiences are being targeted by Serious Games?
- What are the latest trends in terms of content and game-play?
- What are the prospects by market segment?
IDATE estimated the serious gaming market at approximately 1.5 billion euro in worldwide revenue, with growth potential of 700% by 2015 (i.e. a 10 billion euro business).
Observing StarCraft 2
There is a fascinating article in Scientific American (by Sandra Upson) describing how Cognitive Scientists are observing StarCraft 2 players to gain insight into how humans multitask. Analysis of the contextual data and the decisions made by the game players give a detailed view into problem solving, learning, strategy and decision making. This is an interesting by-product of ‘entertainment-centric gaming’. There are a lot of interesting threads which could be pulled together in this field including:
- Context Aware Computing (virtual context)
- Social Network Analysis (as groups and teams form within the game)
- Big Data architectures (storage and analysis of massive quantities of game play data)
- Pattern Analysis
- Digital Mill: http://www.dmill.com/
- Serious Games Taxonomy: http://www.dmill.com/presentations/serious-games-taxonomy-2008.pdf
- Games for Health: http://www.gamesforhealth.org/
- IDATE report: http://www.idate.org/en/Research-store/Serious-Gaming_579.html
Further Reading on Serious Gaming and Gamification
- Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards
- Gamification in Education and Business
- The Gamification of Higher Education: Developing a Game-Based Business Strategy in a Disrupted Marketplace
- Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification
- Transforming Learning and IT Management through Gamification