1 STT 76 Future Horizons
3 Serious Gaming Future Horizons STT, The Hague, the Netherlands, 2012
4 0002 Introduction STT, the Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends initiated the futures study of serious gaming in The aim of the study was to develop inspiring horizons on games which offer more than entertainment alone. The study began as an ambitious project. On the one hand, we wanted to explore serious gaming in the broadest sense possible; with an open perspective and not constrained by too much focus. We worked towards this goal with desk research, talks with experts, a conference, a series of expert meetings and (p)reviews of (fictitious) games. On the other hand, we made a conscious attempt to explore specific examples. To this end we investigated the potential of gaming in two domains. We explored future game-based possibilities for seniors, and secondly we explored the potential of gaming for the management of organizations. To explore the future of these issues, besides desk research we organized also interviews, a symposium and workshops. This book presents a bird s eye view of the results of these explorations. Due to the fact that we gathered such rich and varied insights into serious gaming and its possible future, it proved quite a challenge to summarize its results. Serious gaming knows many manifestations in terms of types, areas of application, commercial opportunities, practical difficulties and ethical objections. We have chosen to present the future on the basis of four types of next generation serious games. To define the categories, we were obliged to draw clear lines. Nuances have been polished away; flowing lines have become more defined. For one type some commonly used technologies may be dealt with extensively but completely disregarded in another type. The concerns involved with each type vary in importance. For the sake of clarity we have deliberately constructed and emphasized the various types of games to be able to present the most important future trends in serious gaming. In this article we first consider the game type that is familiar to everyone when addressing serious gaming, namely simulation. In simulation games, real life situations are imitated in order to practice virtually; to play before the real thing happens. Such methods are ideal when training for highrisk situations, for example. Perfect simulation has an important benefit in contrast to reality: no one is killed in the process. Secondly, we consider evidence-based gaming. This game type benefits daily life by means other than imitation. An example is brain training: solving puzzles and thus improving cerebral skills and intelligence (or so it seems). The future of these games is hard scientific proof rather than vague promises. The third category is the Serious Sandbox Game; the game as a creative tool to open things up. This game type has the potential to create a free open space in which new perspectives on complex issues can be developed. The game enables the player to briefly escape from reality with the objective of returning to it with fresh insights on how to organize reality in a different way. Gamification, the last game type of serious gaming, goes beyond the traditional distinction between game and reality. The idea is to use the power of gaming fully and to model the physical world as a game environment. Life is a game. The primary connection between all four game types is the notion of the transfer of game. Games are only serious once the winnings or profits of playing them are realized in day-to-day reality. In each game we reflect on the essential question of how such transfer takes place. To see the full scope of the details of the varied and
5 0003 level Serious Gaming progress underlying material, we would like to refer you to The website offers all the results of this futures study. We conclude this book with a future view into serious gaming specifically in the Netherlands. As part of the creative industry the sector awaits many opportunities. Its most important challenge being: to grow up and at the same time to continue to being a child. Expert meetings: The Future of Serious Gaming Video s expertmeetings expertmeetings STT organized three expert meetings in this futures study. Experts in the field of serious gaming and experts in related fields presented their concepts of the future and examined questions such as: What types and genres of serious games will there be? For what aims will the new generations of serious games be used for? What is the impact of new technologies? How do developments in social media and crowdsourcing relate to serious gaming? What will the models for earning money look like? What are the moral aspects of serious gaming? The experts Kars Alfrink, Hubbub Matthijs Dierckx, Control: journal for the Dutch games industry Jeroen Elfferich, Ex Machina Bert Jan ten Kate en Tom Kleijn, Hyves Maurits Kreijveld, STT, The Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends Michiel de Lange, Erasmus University Rotterdam /The Mobile City Ilja Linnemeijer, PwC Jeroen van Mastrigt, Dutch Game Garden David B. Nieborg, University of Amsterdam David Williamson Shaffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Joost Raessens, University of Utrecht Remco Veltkamp, GATE
6 0004 Serious Gaming: The Next Generations
7 0005 level Serious Gaming progress The One Stop Simulation Game There are circumstances in which you would like to know how someone might cope, without actually putting this to the test in real life. This might be the case for a candidate applying for a high-risk job or a delinquent preparing to return to society. Imitating real life situations can be a valuable instrument in estimating someone s capabilities. In these kinds of simulations the imitation should approach reality as closely as possible. It needs to be realistic. Furthermore, the setting should provoke the player s natural behavior as much as possible. New generations of serious games offer a host of possibilities. Game developers increasingly succeed in giving us convincing digital alternatives to our daily world. They are virtual environments that not only look like reality but also feel like it. With the help of new generations of immersive technologies game designers are able to manipulate the sensory experience of the player. Flight Simulators from 1983 and Spot the differences. Source: Jonah Snoei Source: Shane Wood Immersion Immersive technology can perceptually fool the senses through: Panoramic 3D displays (visual) Surround sound acoustics (auditory) Haptics and force feedback (tactile) Smell replication (olfactory) Taste replication (gustation) ypcc4k The distinction between real and virtual becomes increasingly blurred as intuitive interaction with a virtual environment takes over through image, scent, sound, taste and touch. Since the real world cannot be directed by the mouse and keyboard, game designers seek more natural forms of interfacing and controlling, such as touch screens, motion control, brain-computer interfaces, biofeedback and ultrasound. These new forms of interaction are capable of more than just passing on player signals to his virtual environment. They also register and collect valuable data about the player. The next generations of simulation games will draw reliable information from different sources. New technologies will be used to gather all kinds of data concerning the player. Besides actual behavior, relevant cognitive functions, physiological or emotional reactions will be tracked and assessed. By seducing the player to show his (true) colours, relevant aspects of the player s constitution can thus be measured: this is an important next step in the development of the simulation game. But
8 0006 why stop at an accurate diagnosis of the player? Game-based learning environments are obviously the next step. In high-risk situations we look for ways of ruling out (easily) avoidable mistakes. There are many advantages of virtual training environments in which doctors or security officers can acquire real workmanship. Learning is for the most part trying something out, processing feedback and trying again. Simulation games could become the future environment in which such a learning process takes place in an effective and efficient manner. Starting from the learning aims of the player, the game will determine the smartest way to achieve those aims. By taking the player s level into account and continually measuring the player s progress and personal style of learning, the game guides the player to the final objective. The trainee playfully feeds the system nonstop with relevant information. In doing so, the player shows which procedures and facts he has mastered, how fast he goes about this, if he is relaxed or stressed while doing it, if he can keep track of all aspects of the game etc. This information is gathered real-time and returned to the player as a form of adaptive game play. The simulation game concludes what is necessary to get the player onto the right level and adapts by adjusting the level of difficulty in the assignments, for example, or by offering new assignments. Or by skipping or repeating specific assignments. Reality is constantly being bumped up a notch, for as long as it takes for player X to master skill Y on level Z. generation serious games will outsource this to the computer. Artificial intelligence will then ensure that the measured progress of the player is reciprocated with suitable response. The game will not have predetermined scripts but believable actions and responses from artificial fellow players (agents) or alternatively in the form of a changing game landscape. We are heading towards a digital game-based learning environment that takes on more and more characteristics of learning processes. Once learning aims are determined, no intervention by trainers or supervisors will be needed. Creating an ideal setting for learning, making sure tailored feedback is given, continually fine-tuning the levels, evaluating, debriefing and holding exams? It s all in the game thanks to the game. The One Stop Simulation Game does it all. A dream come true or worst case scenario, the One Stop Simulation Game is one of the most imaginative visions of the future of serious games. A game in which a great variety of technological developments converge. This is a game with clear added value: since the game resembles reality so acutely, we presume that game results can easily be transferred to real life the so called transfer of game. This transfer is much less evident with other games. Training and examination blend together. The game is not stopped to test the progress of the trainee in the simulation game of the future. The game continually monitors at which level the trainee stands and translates all progress into the adapted learning environment. Finishing the game means passing the exam. In the far future this will happen fully automatically. Digital learning environments may at present lean heavily on human intervention; next
9 0007 level Serious Gaming progress Evidence-Based Games A lot of the attention for serious gaming stems from the positive side effects of entertainment games. Articles on gamers who improve their eye/hand coordination or who learn to work with a more solution-orientated attitude, have given an enormous stimulus to the development of games in which these side effects are the main objective. It s a big market no doubt; who doesn t like to play a game and at the same time train their brains, or get fit and improve all kinds of useful skills? But do these games actually deliver what they promise? For many of the games presented as serious there is obvious doubt concerning the real life use of the in-game accomplishments. If a game environment and its physical conditions and actions have no relation whatsoever to the working practice of the player, it is difficult to understand the professional relevance of say, a surgeon playing a first-person shooter. Where the relationship between game and reality is abstract, the transfer is much less self-evident than with simulation games. In this case, scientific support is the future. effectiveness. A future vision of evidence-based games is less focused than that of the simulation game. It could be a fully immersive virtual reality installation in which the player recovers from posttraumatic stress disorder in a fantasy world of elves, or it might be an app on your smart phone that allows you to train your memory while waiting for the bus. The game might work with an intelligent virtual coach or introduce augmented reality contact lenses available at the chemist s. At the same time low-tech solutions are possible. The most important characteristic of evidencebased games is that it works, in the sense that desired results are achieved. And that it has been proven and tested that it does just that. The Serious Sandbox Game A One Stop Simulation Game and an Evidence- Based Game both start from a relatively clear situation, namely that the objective is chosen, prior to playing the game. The reality or an ideal image of it is set as a fixed reference point of the game. Games can also be employed, however, in situations in which conditions and goals are less clear. In fact, playing games is a much used tool to gain focus on a situation, to articulate ideals and desired objectives. The evidence-based games of the future will not make vague promises or claim dubious effects. They will be appealing games with a solid and well-founded model in the back-end. Whether a game proposes specific or general benefits by playing, the player will know that it works. Peerreviewed studies, assessment by independent parties and (scientifically supported) quality marks offer the certainty of proven PROVEN EFFECTIVE GAME Administrative environments and strategic business issues can become so complex that the parties involved have no clear concept of the situation on a system level. An overall perspective is missing. In this context, the value games add is that by offering players an open space they can temporarily distance themselves from the reality of the Here and Now. To be able to focus on the overall picture but also to explore, try out new things and see and experience the consequences thereof immediately. This concerns the serious equivalent of the sandbox mode that some entertainment games offer. In these so-called open ended games the player can, for the most part, choose what to do, what to achieve and how to do it. Gaming becomes a method for open discovery.
10 0008 of the Serious Sandbox Game lies in opening up reality. The follow-up is a profoundly human process: what have we seen? What do we think of this? What do we want to do with this and what specifically can we start with? Having similar features in appearance, the Serious Sandbox Game may resemble the simulation game. If, for example, a game is used to playfully explore the construction of a new airport, the game environment must relate realistically to the issue at hand. That is one of the reasons why simulation-elements are used so frequently in Serious Sandbox Games. However, the Sandbox Game is not just a slavish imitation of existing reality. This is partly due to the fact that a complex world cannot be modelled very precisely. But more importantly, a close resemblance between the virtual and real world may be something you deliberately try to avoid. This may be the case if, for example, players cannot consequently free themselves from reality and are thus limited in their capacity to think out of the box. From the perspective of the transfer of game, games and reality should not necessarily coincide fully. In the simulation game and in the evidencebased game the transfer of game ideally is a smooth process. By playing, a patient can work on the recovery of his locomotive system and a chief fire officer may attain the desired level of crisis standby. In hindsight we make objective assessments as to whether the game has done its work. Goals can thus be achieved without consciously observing them while playing. In the Serious Sandbox Game this is not the case. The Serious Sandbox Game does not aim for a silent transfer of game. When we play the game, we have no idea what the results will be or what we might want these results to be. Smoothly implementing game results into reality may actually not be intended at all. The added value Processes like this cannot be programmed and this is not likely to change. We are quite capable of imagining a future in which intelligent computers offer adequate solutions for operational, technical issues. Situations demanding critical reflection, political insight or moral judgment, on the other hand, seem quite out of range of the binary computer. The Serious Sandbox Game offers the possibility of taking a step back from day-to-day reality for a short while. As a tool for out-of-the-box-thinking, the game offers an open space for reflection, for experiments and mistakes, without the real-life consequences. A number of developments, which are not only technological, will strengthen this proposition. The quality of Serious Sandbox Games is determined by our potential to use the power of functional play to its upmost capacity. This type of game shows how game design is in fact the design of play. A visually enticing game environment is a good thing but how do you engage people to actually use all the open space that has been created? In which way do we get players to start moving? How do we optimize a learning process in a game? Game designers increasingly feel more responsible for the playing itself and not just for the game. Accordingly, a game designer is expected to become more of a context designer. A designer who not only focuses on the moment of play itself but also engages himself with the question of embedding winnings in the daily practice of the player. How do you make sure that the conclusions of the game assessment find their way back to the work situation? In which way can you make an organization receptive to the results of a game with serious purposes? What is needed in the structure and culture of the organization to do this, in its IT-systems and work processes?
11 0009 level Serious Gaming progress A game designer guides the process and thus becomes a designer of an organization. To support the expanding job responsibilities of the game designer, an interdisciplinary approach is indispensable. Insights from many different disciplines need to be integrated. This varies from knowledge of psychological group dynamics in digital game environments to the innovative use of traditional principles of play, from new knowledge on how intrinsic motivation can be activated to didactic do s and don ts in sharing and implementing game results. Technology plays a more subordinate role within this future vision of the Serious Sandbox Game. In creating more realistic game environments, developments from the world of simulations will be welcomed. But, in contrast to the more hardcore simulation games, the Serious Sandbox Game does not aim to keep improving the reproduction of reality. Depending on the situation, the added value of any technology will vary. The same goes for the technologies that support the game on a process level. A technology push is not to be expected be it a means of communication to simplify an exchange of ideas or new tools for debriefing and evaluation. A LIFE MORE PLAYFUL GAMIFICATION A WORLD LESS SERIOUS The games types described above are easy to recognize. The games have a beginning and an end. They can be turned on and off, thus marking the transition between game and reality. Clearly one of the biggest challenges for these types of games is in the transfer: how to validate the winnings achieved in the game outside the game? One way of handling this complicated issue is to sidestep it all together: by deliberately obscuring the boundary between game world and day-to-day reality. An increasing group of people wonder if the advantages of gaming cannot also be introduced into the way we organize and control our real life world. In other words, might it be possible to gamify the world? There are two sorts of gamification we distinguish here: Gamification Light and Life is a Game. Gamification Light: de Alternate Reality Game Jane McGonigal is a huge fan of games but she also believes that games are not used to their greatest potential. In her eyes, game designers produce great work in the wrong place, namely in the world of escapist entertainment. McGonigal suggests directing the game designer s power to make people happy and productive towards real and relevant issues, such as a cure for cancer or research into political scandals or feeding people
12 0010 in danger of starvation. Valuable insights of the world of entertainment games (for instance removing unnecessary obstacles, making your work pleasing, achieving goals with meaningful rewards etc) can be applied to fix the real world. The games McGonigal advocates are thus very serious indeed. We no longer play in a virtual world but in real life with real consequences. McGonigal presents her philosophy as an option, as an alternate reality: a new, more gameful way of interacting with the real world and living our real lives 1. The optional character of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) is crucial to McGonigal. McGonigal explicitly requires an ARG, like any other game, to be played voluntarily. An alternate reality game has to remain a true alternate for it to work 2. The game thus becomes a productive and always conscious alternative for the way we approach an issue. Some people think why stop here? Alternate Reality games If we want to keep learning about how to improve our real quality of life, we need to continue mining the commer cial game industry The industry has consistently proven itself, and will continue to be, our single best research laboratory for discovering new ways to reliably and efficiently engineer optimal human happiness. 1, 2 Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World realityisbroken.org Life is a Game If gaming is such an effective, efficient and above all enjoyable way to achieve results, why not take this a step further? Why not see the world as a game environment ready to be organized? Not as a non-committal means for escape but as part of the way we see, organize and govern the world around us? The need to address this question in the first place stems from the (alleged) shortcomings of traditional serious games. Once again the transfer of game is the issue here. Take, for instance, recovery or rehabilitation games. Recovery exercises are usually pretty boring and repetitive. They are made more appealing by wrapping the exercise into a game; making it more fun for the patient and therefore more successful for the recovery process. A patient who enjoys a recovery game will not give up so easily. The problem with this kind of rehabilitation gaming, however, is that the activity itself is literally out of the ordinary in everyday life. The patient may practice for a while but afterwards will return to his normal routine. This is a routine in which rehabilitation objectives are not achieved, simply because the game challenges have once more become repetitive exercises the patient has trouble making time for. If a game environment is to become an effective rehabilitation environment, the solution is as simple as it is imperative: design the routine of the day as a game to draw out and extend the game moment of the recovery program. In other words, create a dwelling and living environment in which exercises are done intrinsically and rehabilitation objectives are achieved playfully. Gamification does not necessarily imply that everything should become a game. It is moreover about a playful approach towards the world. The key question is: how can we use the advantages of gaming outside the game in a useful way? There are multiple opportunities here: specific game mechanics can be used, for example, to provoke desired behavior, such as perseverance, helpful assistance, competitive activity or quick thinking. Other advantages of gaming are proven and tested playing concepts, the intelligent use of game technology, player generated content. In a more general sense, playful ways of thinking, communicating, working together and sharing
13 0011 level Serious Gaming progress can be used, something which is common place in gaming communities. All these things can be processed into the habitual rituals of daily life. Gaming thus loses its explicit character. Life is a Game. they destroyed their World, now they want ours COMING SOON Ethical concerns In an innocent scenario gamification only brings advantages. Imagine a future scenario in which a patient no longer feels he is a patient (thus improving self-esteem) but who is just leading his life. A life in which rehabilitation objectives are hidden in day-to-day activities. Thanks to game principles and rules of the game world, a physiotherapist as game designer can design a system that prompts clients to do the physical activities and specific exercises in a fun way. A gamified recovery environment need not be high-tech but we can imagine how new technologies might be used intelligently. Augmented Reality enriches the environment with an extra layer of information and changes the living room into a playground in which the player slays virtual dragons or dodges balls. And in so doing he makes the right movements for his recovery. Sensors and other location determining technologies translate activities to a ranking on a scoreboard. By personalizing both the game concept and the game environment intelligent IT combines the preferences from earlier playing sessions and points of improvement with information coming from social media, medical files or other databases. The objectives of the game designer and player, an optimal recovery, come together. So why not? Is this not something to aspire to? We are influenced in our behavior in all kinds of ways, so why not make it fun? Nobody takes offence at the basketball nets next to the road or the bin Holle Bolle Gijs saying Thank you at the attraction park De Efteling, as a playful alternative to the uninspiring rubbish-bins that give no feedback at all. The future becomes somewhat darker, however, if the intentions of the game designer are less clear, questionable or even objectionable. Game designer Jesse Schell describes only half-jokingly in a notorious example, a situation in which authorities and business continually monitor our way of living with various technical tools and attempt to influence us with a system of bonus points. Have you won enough points? Free products, discounts on your insurance policies, tax benefits, and preferential treatments are all up for grabs. Is this still in the future? On his weblog, tellingly called Gamepocalypse Now, Schell shows existing examples of how games already penetrate our daily lives now. Gamepocalypse Now: Advances in technology will soon make all of life a game. Or has it happened already? 5wzvmal Do we really want so much connectedness, in so doing giving all kinds of parties access to everything we do? How much and which
14 0012 information are we prepared to give access to? In exchange for what? These are the typical issues at hand every time any new technology is introduced. What are the consequences for our privacy? What does this mean for the integrity of the human body and the autonomy of our personal lifestyle? Jesse Schell: When Games Invade Real Life (presentatie) com/ybeja79 Type game Idea Most important qualities One Stop Simulation Game What you see is pretty much what you get Slavish imitation of reality Virtual world is experienced as real by the player Actions in the virtual world have no real life consequences The principles of creative play make matters more difficult. Is it still possible to judge an environment as a game if participation is not voluntary any longer, as Jane Mc Gonigal s unfaltering demand reminds us, but as something that is more or less enforced upon us? Are we still in tune with the principle of play if the rules of the game are deliberately kept unclear or can be changed at any moment in time? Are we still playing and not being played with in this situation? Creative play implies voluntary participation. Without it you can draw opportunistically from the game discourse but this, by principle, does not count as a game. If a game is your ambition and you take care to safeguard the special nature of play, then the game must, above all, remain fair play. Examples Technology Transfer of Game Virtual training of doctors and security officers in situations with large impact and high risks without causing danger Strong technology drive Trendsetters: Immersive technologies for realistic experiences (immersion of the player) Artificial intelligence for adaptive game play (tailored personal training environment) Based on a large resemblance between game and reality. Having practical experience in a virtual world is the best preparation for doing the real work in the real world
15 0013 level Serious Gaming progress Evidence-based Game It looks like a game; it feels like a game but really Serious Sandbox Game Using play as a creative tool to think out of the box Gamification Why not organize the world as a game? No (visual) resemblance between game environment and real world Serious learning aims are concealed in a game environment that is fun and motivating While playing, the desired result is achieved casually Games to improve cognitive skills (brain training) or physical constitution (prevention of falling down, recovery training, staying fit) Depends on the nature or the goal of the game. Technology contributes to better game results and/or transfer of ingame winnings in day-to-day reality A way to make complicated issues manageable The game as time-out: functional escape of reality to be able to observe it from a distance The game creates an open space for more understanding (what is really at the heart of the matter?), experiments (what if?), reflections (what have we learnt?), and discussions (how to continue?) Policy exercises, games for (strategic) management Depends on the game and the needs of the playmakers and players. Technology must contribute to an increase in game results and/or translation of acquired in-game insights into implications for possible policy and strategy. The boundary between game and reality is not clear; the game cannot be turned on or off Game design as a perspective towards the world The design and manipulation of daily reality is based on best game practices Ranging from the use of just one principle of play (for example positive feedback) to stimulate environment-friendly driving to completely gamified organizations (working environment modeled to a game environment) Gamification is in its very essence not dependant on technology. (Combinations of ) technologies do open up many new possibilities. Scientifically proven transfer of developed in-game qualities in day-to-day reality The game opens up reality. In so doing players must learn lessons themselves and link consequences to the issue at hand: the transfer is not automatic. The transfer of game results is not an issue since reality and game are no separated worlds.
16 0014 Serious Gaming: The Future of a Sector
17 0015 level Serious Gaming progress In the futures Study on Serious Gaming we have collected a great variety of visions. The variety says something about the nature of serious gaming. Serious gaming is not a neatly defined field with clear origins but a complex phenomenon with roots in many different disciplines. To some serious games is the next step in e-learning, others see serious gaming as the next step in more intuitive and playful computer simulations. For others serious gaming is just a means for the entertainment game industry to make money outside its traditional market. All those involved with serious gaming and those who envision its future, do this from their own perspective. The differences between the visions for the future are, as described above, quite significant. Serious gaming as a phenomenon is not easy to grasp. At the same time it is an exciting field to keep track of. It is a field with mostly small organizations and temporary cooperation s in which researchers, entrepreneurs, designers, writers, specialists and generalists, engineers and scholars in the humanities, producers and experts in the field and many others help each other by triggering and developing alternative perspectives and unexpected insights. This not only makes the serious gaming sector interesting, it is also its defining power. The Dutch serious gaming industry fits perfectly into the vision of the creative industry put forward in the spring of 2011 under the authority of the Department of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation in the Netherlands. The Top team Creative Industry had the assignment to define how the Dutch market might excel on the world market, describing a scenario full of opportunities. According to the team, the creative industry is one of the booming sectors of the Dutch economy, with a 6% increase per year. A runner-up of which we still have to see its full-capacity. (p. 1) 1. And this is not only interesting for the sector itself. The creative industry, to which serious gaming explicitly belongs, plays a key role in the plans to strengthen the innovation force of the Netherlands. To make the most of the sector s distinguishing potential (for example its innovative products and services and its characteristic method of innovation) important steps still need to be taken, however, in mak ing the sector useful to business in the Netherlands. The ambition of the creative industry is to contribute optimally to the innovation force of the Netherlands. This is based on the presumption that the creative industry is economically well-embedded which is still insufficiently the case. There are hardly any strategic crossovers with other top-class sectors yet. This may be the most challenging open territory for the creative industry in gaining its own value. So far connections between the borderlines of different sectors manifest themselves mostly in practical and/or production work. In this way the creative sector deprives not only itself but also the economy in general of added value. 2 As is often the case, the sector s weaknesses are a consequence of its strengths. According to the Top team Creative Industry the strength of the creative sector is also its primary bottle neck: the added value of creativity and the manner of innovating and working (small-scale, project-based) are not affiliated enough to the conceptual and practical frameworks of other players in the ecosystem, such as educative and knowledge institutions, capital investors and potential clients from other sectors. 3 This is partly due to the fact that the economical, political and legal infrastructures are not yet geared to the particular nature of the sector. But it is also a consequence of the sector s faltering attempts to professionalize and position itself more substantially in relation to other players. The creative industry thus faces the task to manoeuver itself out of the fringe and claim its due position, aided by the incentives the Top team Creative Industry advised to the government. Judging by the core business of the serious gaming sector this scenario looks to be feasible. 1, 2, 3 Creative Industry in top form 3k6hmvr
18 0016 If we define serious gaming as a sector that finds game-based solutions for social issues, it is quite impossible to imagine the industry not working together with other sectors. Serious gaming is not an insular activity but a means towards a goal: helping pupils to have more fun while learning, helping patients recover quicker, helping inform citizens better etc. The relationship with the outside world is always present in serious gaming. The question then is: what is the nature of this relationship and how substantial is the position of serious gaming? The sector is expected to manifest itself more resolutely in the near future. But it is one thing to constantly have to explain that games can be used for serious goals, it is quite another to get serious games right in the heart of the primary process of the client. To get decision makers to conclude that serious games are not only nice to have but need to have. In some sectors serious gaming is doing quite well, for instance, in the field of security or caretaking. But still, the trepidation has not disappeared altogether. Over the coming years, it will be easier for game developers to draw in the ties with other sectors. A great variety of developments play a role in this. Obviously there is the autonomous development of the next generations of games and the ever increasing visibility of the advantages of games. Secondly, the sector will be able to benefit from social and demographic developments. Young people are, after all, the decision makers of the future. They are a generation that experience gaming as something completely self-evident and they see the possibilities clearly. A third notable development is that of the economic model. The costs for the development and efforts put into serious gaming are expected to drop as a consequence of standardization in production processes and lower prices for supporting technologies. The image of the future in a nutshell: better, cheaper and broadly supported serious games. Better relationships but at a safe distance As the Top team Creative Industry has indicated clearly, the biggest challenge for the sector will be: more affiliation with other sectors without the loss of its own specific identity. In other words: although strengthening ties outside the sector is paramount, the creative industry need not identify too much with the businesses they distinguish themselves from. In the case of serious gaming this is not just a theoretical risk. Developers of serious games cannot by definition stay at a safe distance from the sectors they cater for. The development and application of serious games demand close contact between the client and the developers. If the susceptibility towards serious gaming increases, as suggested above, serious gaming could lose its exotic character and thus become part and parcel of the client s daily business. To a certain extent this is the ultimate form of acceptance and emancipation of the phenomenon of serious gaming. One Stop
19 0017 level Serious Gaming progress Simulation Games and evidence-based gaming will then become a fixed part of staff training. Decisions and concerns will automatically be thought through in a Serious Sandbox Game. And a gamified work environment, the most radical variation of serious gaming, will blur the difference between work and play completely. Invisibility as a future scenario The Games for Health Europe Conference, first launched in 2011, does not exist anymore since serious gaming has become an explicit part of regular health conferences. A few years later the term serious gaming will not even be used at all anymore. Virtual reality training is part of regular education programs of doctors, games are the standard in rehabilitation courses to motivate patients and the main machinery in the fight against obesity is a positive feedback system. Is this the final result for the establishment of serious gaming? Every reference to the source has disappeared. Serious gaming, das war einmal. Is invisibility desirable? There is a lot to say for a future in which serious gaming is completely absorbed into the best practices of sectors. These are sectors that endeavor to continually improve themselves and therefore cannot avoid serious gaming. At the same time this scenario has a downside that must be addressed. Many serious game developers are already moving towards specialization to offer added value. Specialization is useful and desirable, since a game in which professionals in the field of waterworks map the consequences of a new administrative model is quite different from a privacy awareness game for twelve year old users of social media. Substantial knowledge of the domain, close contact with clients and well-geared work processes can, however, lead to unwanted influences from more mature and established sectors. These established sectors, on the contrary, value the creative industry s singularity greatly. The term serious gaming attracts a colorful troupe of developers, researchers, advisors and users. It has caught the attention of established parties and newcomers from often unexpected places. The often criticized ambiguity of the term serious gaming is a blessing in that respect. Not many parties feel excluded in being able to gain from it or contribute to it. That appeal of serious gaming should certainly be kept up. At the same time, on the backend it is important to cherish and cultivate the special and quite singular identity of serious gaming. With interdisciplinary encounters, cross-sector exchange of experiences and a continual flow of wild ideas and new insights. So, Play on
20 0018 About STT The Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends (STT) explores new trends and develops inspiring foresights on technology and society. For the last 40 years, STT has organized broad participatory future explorations. STT creates an open space in which stakeholders can connect to a specific subject and build inspiring visions of the future. STT s advisory board consists of over 30 members who are selected among contributors and scientific institutions, all appointed on personal title. As a non-profit organization, STT is funded by the Dutch government and business contributions. More information on STT and its current and past foresight projects can be found on the website Visitor s Address Prinsessegracht AP The Hague the Netherlands Financial support STT Arcadis Capgemini DSM Essent Fugro IBM ISPT KEMA KIVI NIRIA McKinsey&Company Ministry of Education, Culture and Science Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Dutch Gasunie Dutch Unilever Companies Océ Technologies Philips Electronics Royal FrieslandCampina Shell Netherlands Siemens Netherlands Sogeti Netherlands Tata Steel T-Mobile Netherlands TNO Wuppermann Staal Mailing Address P.O. Box GK The Hague the Netherlands Telephone: