Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ben Sawyer Debunks Ten Myths About Serious Games

Helping to spread the truth about Serious Games

Via: The Escapist Magazine

Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Digitalmill, also co-founder of the Serious Games Initiative, and the Games for Health Project, has just published a superb article via The Escapist: Ten Myths About Serious Games.

As he states upfront, "The serious games field is rife with misconceptions because it encompasses so much. To help spread the truth about Serious Games, let's debunk 10 of the biggest myths about the genre."

The article covers most of the topics that have been object of ample debate around the Serious Games segment and deserves a thorough reading.
Amongst others, it challenges two most notorious myths: "Serious Games are for Learning and Training" and "Serious Games Aren't Fun".

Go for it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Serious Games - Are We Really A Community And The Chaos Theory

Serious Games challenging us to play a SG community

As I finished reading Kevin Corti's opinion piece 'Serious Games - Are We Really A Community?', where Kevin thoroughly discusses the nature of the 'serious games' movement and the deep divisions amongst the various sub-sections, I immediately empathized with its essence.

It reminded me I had experienced something quite similar a couple of years ago, when restructuring a global company and 'creating' new markets. At that point, my personal coach, one of the 'best and brightest' from the Chicago Stock Exchange, came up with the following:

The Chaos Theory fully applies to major step changes, where discontinuity prevails.
In the beginning all you've got are fractals, without any bonding.

Therefore, at the very early stages, inclusiveness can make your incipient community gain critical mass and visibility (e.g for the SG movement could imply welcoming Flash, Unreal, etc. as opposed to “but it is only developed in Flash”).

At this stage as well, communities can not yet be formed, since there is no bonding. What we do find are 'networks of conversation' (e.g. the SG summits).

The more radical the change and the greater the anticipated reach, the more chaotic is the process. The Chaos Theory welcomes this sort of 'mess' as an inherent aspect of the transition.

There are so many (and powerful) forces intervening in the SG market formation, that "struggling for survival" behaviors often show up, the same way they do when restructuring corporate governance (which reminds me Kevin Corti's comments on the Wiki.)

With regards to fun, I must confess that the 'engaging thing' makes me dream on.

My gratitude to Kevin for opening up his heart and sharing his deepest feelings with the members of this 'baby' community.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Serious Games Of Canada Constituency

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future


Via: The Power Of Play - Serious Games in Canada

Serious Games arrive at Montreal International Game Summit

Alliance NumériQC, the business network for Quebec’s new media and interactive digital content industry, has announced that the first annual Serious Games Canada symposium will be held in Montreal in conjunction with the 4yh Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS), on November 27 and 28, 2007, at the Palais des Congrès.

Canada is well-positioned to become an important hub for the development of Serious Games. As such, MIGS is this year convening more than twenty speakers, mostly from Canada, to give high-level presentations on the subject.

The speakers will share expertise on subjects as varied as ethics and negotiation games, Project Moonwalk—an educational simulation of the Apollo Moon Missions, interactive math activities and game ethology, a methodology for design analysis based on game behaviour.

Concurrently, there will be a workshop designed to organize a national group, Serious Games Of Canada, for the promotion of serious game development and research in Canada.

20-30 key people would meet to form the national group, and existing research and games would be presented and discussed. This could result in the formation of Canadian special interest groups as well (Games for Health, Games for Environment and Sustainability).

About the Serious Games Canada Symposium

The Symposium is being jointly organized by Alliance numériQC, Jim K. Parker, Professor, University of Calgary, and Ben Sawyer, Co-founder, Digitalmill. It benefits from the support of numerous sponsors, including Terrace Hill Productions and Distil Interactive.

About MIGS

MIGS was created in 2004 to serve members of the video game industry, which employs over 5,000 people in Quebec. It promotes the transfer of knowledge and expertise, raises the international profile of the Quebec video game industry and cultivates information-sharing and dialogue among industry stakeholders.

About Alliance numériQC

Alliance numériQC, Quebec's digital industry network, is dedicated to supporting and accelerating growth and competitiveness in the industry. Focusing its efforts on private companies and SMBs, it has more than 200 members in the game, eLearning, education and Internet services and applications sectors. For anyone seeking to work with professionals in the field of interactive digital content, Alliance numériQC is the gateway.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Serious Games Sizeable Market, Virtual Worlds Sizeable Investment

Sizing the market on both sides of the equation

Via: Virtual Worlds News - $1 Billion Invested in Virtual Worlds in the Last Year

The Numerator – Gross Revenues
In my prior posts 
Serious Games, Serious Money: A Sizeable Market and Serious Games: A Sizeable Market - Update, I addressed how the video game industry was finding more business outside the entertainment sector.

At that point, my best estimate for the Serious Games segment was based on three major market drivers: 1) the emergent supply chain for professional training, with a number of corporations taking the first steps and commissioning Serious Games development 2) more and more Healthcare providers embracing software simulations 3) the fact that Serious Games are gaining solid traction in Europe 

In my view, these three combined market drivers could bring the overall figure for the Serious Games market close to $ 2 billion in 2008.
Note: With regards to the running costs of development I would strongly recommend further reading Julian Lombardi’s recent article Cost of Simulations.

The Other Side of the Equation – Investment/Capital Employed

A research by Virtual Worlds Management reveals $1 billion invested in 35 Virtual World companies from October 2006 to October 2007.

Virtual Worlds Management, the leading media company tracking the virtual worlds industry, has announced findings from a comprehensive study of accountable transactions that venture capital, technology and media firms have invested more than $1 billion dollars in 35 virtual worlds companies in the past 12 months, from October 2006 to October 2007.

The announcement comes just prior to the
Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo taking place October 10-11, 2007, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California. The investment numbers and the future of the industry will be discussed in depth at the conference.

Of the $1 billion, $196.8 Million were invested in 33 companies. Significant investors in the space include Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Intel, and Rustic Canyon Partners. Media companies are also making sizable investments, including Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund.

The remaining $810 million went to two acquisitions: Walt Disney's $700 million acquisition of Club Penguin and Intel's $110 million acquisition of 3D virtual worlds graphics technology company Havok, that provides the physics inside of Second Life.

"Investors are not just venture capital firms, but also include major technology, media and entertainment companies," said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of Virtual Worlds Management. "The amount of money invested in this period of time is staggering. We don't see any slowing in the market adoption of virtual worlds technologies and expect investment in the space to continue. In fact the market is growing significantly, with the rate of adoption of virtual worlds increasing as the technology matures and has more to offer both consumers and enterprise customers."

Investment spanned the entire virtual worlds value chain, including technology platform companies, virtual worlds developers, service providers and tools providers. Business models of the companies raising capital vary, ranging from advertising and subscriptions to virtual item sales, to enterprise software licensing, hosting and services.

About Virtual Worlds Management

Virtual Worlds Management is the leading provider of trade events and media for the emerging virtual worlds industry. Virtual Worlds Management services include, Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo, Virtual Worlds 2008 Conference,
Virtual Worlds Weekly - email newsletter, the Virtual Worlds News - trade industry Blog and Virtual Worlds Connect - the online community for professionals in the virtual worlds industry.

Virtual Worlds Management maintains a strong, experienced management team, allowing it to achieve its mission to be a leading provider of high quality, high profile events to targeted business and professional markets. Virtual Worlds Management is a division of Show Initiative, LLC.