The Serious Game Industry


Serious games are a rapidly growing industry. In 2011, serious game advocates and industry watchers projected that US $1.5 billion will be spent on serious games worldwide. Interest in serious games can be found in a wide variety of settings. Companies and organizations around the world are now bringing serious games into the workplace for a variety of uses.

Serious Games can be used for:

  • e-Learning
  • Training
  • Simulation
  • Teambuilding
  • Collaboration
  • Social Networking
  • Advertising
  • Investigating
  • Business Modeling

Who Uses Serious Games?

  • Military Defense
  • Education
  • Business
  • Scientific Exploration
  • Healthcare
  • Emergency Management
  • City Planning
  • Engineering
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Tourism and Cultural Heritage
  • Virtual Conferencing


Military and Emergency Services

The earliest adopters of serious games for training were military and emergency service organizations. According to Anne Derryberry of I'm

The value of serious games to this sector is readily apparent. The critical and hazardous nature of the work for which soldiers are trained requires a "virtually real" environment where mistakes are not catastrophic. The highly coordinated and cooperative nature of their work requires a learning environment that builds teams and prepares personnel for highly specific and highly coordinated missions. The U.S. Army is so convinced of the power and effect of serious games that it uses its massively multiplayer online game—one of the five most popular games online today—America’s Army, as a recruitment tool.



Academic Education

True learning takes place when people are fully engaged in problem-solving processes and actively develop their own ways of thinking and applying new knowledge in meaningful contexts. Serious games have the ability to expose students to this. Both higher-education and younger learners have been exposed to serious games with great success. Higher education institutions use serious games in a variety of settings—for example to:

  • Give psychology students a way to understand various states of mental illness
  • Teach financial management
  • Accelerate time for science experiments
  • Teach other languages, culture, and customs


Games for Health

Games for health include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, rehab, training, cognitive health, nutrition and health education.

Outside of mainstream commercial games, developers – particularly in the UK and USA – are producing serious games applications which are proving to have health and educational benefits, and to encourage learning and participation. Serious games in healthcare have been used for simulation for health practitioners as well as for patient engagement and compliance.

Exergaming - games that involve exercise - has taken serious games outside of institutions, led by consumers desires to improve their mental health and fitness. "Wii Fit was the best selling USA video game in January and February 2009; it invites gamers to try yoga, aerobic activities and balance games while moving on a movement-sensitive board, assisted by an on-screen trainer."



Corporate Education & Training

Businesses and organizations use serious games to implement organisational learning and development, business education and marketing communications.


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