Play Watchers: Serious Gaming

The rise of Serious Gaming and Gamification – a taxonomy for Serious Gaming and an overview of key Gamification initiatives.

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.

Game Theory: An Introduction

Application across various sectors has been hypothesised in a taxonomy by Ben Sawyer and Peter Smith.

Serious Gaming Taxonomy

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.

The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition

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
  • Diversité – Daesign
  • Entretien de recadrage – ITycom
  • History Games – Interaction Games
  • EDF – Real Fusio
  • Houthoff Buruma The Game – Ranj Serious Games
  • Infinity – Crossroads Digital Media
  • Mondokiddo – Mutant Labs
  • Olympe – 3DDUO
  • The Plague – Serious Games Interactive
  • Sauver Ada – Belle Prod
  • Sea Sim Crisis – VirDys
  • Smartkwizz – C-Servces
  • The Mindty Ant – Macrotellect Ltd
  • Wingineer 3 – Esica
  • Bulletproof – Mobigame
  • Mémorial de Caen – Highfive
  • L’Experience – Actiplay
  • Forrestia – Creo
  • Neurodyssée – Belle Prod.
  • Ping – Grin Multimedia
  • Portal Places  – Taatu Studio
  • Rallye Place Royale – Idéeclic
  • Stat’Ecologie – Playsoft

  • Energy Wise – PIXELearning
  • Jeu Serai – Wizarbox
  • Largo Winch – Entropic Synergies
  • My Cyber Auto-Entreprise – Succubus Interactive
  • Suez Environnement Ambassador – KTM Advance
  • Elude – MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
  • eMotion 1.0 – VirtualWare
  • Ludomedic – CCCP
  • My Quit Kit&Khemia – Hoozinga Game Media
  • Replay – Brainstrom

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).

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education

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

Gamification Links

Further Reading on Serious Gaming and Gamification

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.