Civil Service Minister Tom Watson says that serious games could play a "substantial role" in overcoming a UK recession expected to last throughout 2009.
Many are predicting that Britain will soon face its worst recession in history, with effects to be felt until 2010. Watson asserts that serious games will not only help throughout the recession itself, but could also "help pave the way for what comes after."
Watson proposes that serious games provide exceptional training in public service fields at a low cost -- a sought-after combination during trying economic times.
"The government's constant aim is to improve delivery of public services, but the economic downturn means that right now, we have pretty much no margin for error," Watson said at a recent serious games conference in the UK. "Delivering more for less has never been so important, at least not in my lifetime, and serious games can play a substantial role in helping do that at a time when public services will be more and more in demand."
Watson has previously touched on gaming in his blog
, in which he said that serious games were "a huge opportunity for the UK games industry."
"I can't help thinking that there is a huge potential for the UK games industry to exploit this emerging market," Watson continued. "I've asked my officials to hook me up with the Serious Games Institute to see how I can help."
Watson recently praised the virtues of general-audience video games as well. "Most games are educational," he said. "They make you think, focus, challenge and change - 500 years ago a medium that did this would be called art."