In his State of the Industry address on May 10th at E3 in Los Angeles, California, covered in more detail
on sister site Gamasutra, ESA President Douglas Lowenstein included a look at the serious games industry, and how the advance of video games has reaped benefits in other important fields as well.
In citing a ESA-commissioned whitepaper by J Gregory Sidak, Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and Robert W. Crandall, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, Lowenstein pointed out the many ways that "video games are influencing everyday lives from workplace training to pollution control. The Office of Naval Research is creating a nursing simulation trainer based on the video game Half Life
; Game2Train has developed training games based on Doom
for such white glove companies as JP Morgan Chase and American Express; and the Dutch Government commissioned a game called NitroGenius
to spur a search for reducing air polluting emissions."
He revealed that the Federation of American Scientists will issue a report on Video Games and Education that concludes on the importance of video games to the US labor force, “The success of complex video games demonstrates games can teach higher order thinking skills such as strategic thinking, interpretive analysis, problem solving, plan formuation, and execution, and adaptation to rapid change. These are the skills U.S. employers increasingly seek in workers and new workforce entrants. These are the skills more Americans must have to compete with lower cost knowledge workers in other nations.”
His commentary continues: "The report is noteworthy not just because it calls on government, educators, and private industry to collaborate on stimulating use of video games in schools, but because it represents the most powerful declaration to date from a mainstream part of America‘s academic and policy literati, that video games are vital to America’s future. In so doing, the FAS report is an important step in ushering video games to the center of America’s intellectual, business and cultural corridors."
He also cited the report as he looked to the future, "Is it possible that the PlayStation 3 could model the human genome better than a $100,000 super-computer? Will processors originally designed for gaming applications be used to capture faces in a crowd with six million pixels, and even zoom in to distinguish between the fold of a parka or a concealed bomb?"
Lowenstein concluded his address with his vision of "the transition from video games as pure entertainment to video games as a central feature in the economy and business and education of America."