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Feature: 'The State of Serious Games'

In today's main Gamasutra feature, and with the Serious Games Summit [operated by the CMP Game Group, as is Gamasutra.com] set to take place next week, SGS Chairman and '...
In today's main Gamasutra feature, and with the Serious Games Summit [operated by the CMP Game Group, as is Gamasutra.com] set to take place next week, SGS Chairman and 'serious gaming' advocate Ben Sawyer takes a survey of the serious games landscape, presenting his findings and thoughts in this address on games created for training, health, government, military, educational and other uses. In this extract, Sawyer discusses the growth of serious games, commenting: "The serious games space is still experiencing growth from existing projects. This means that we are able to add to the body of work and generally advocate what seems like "new" projects by putting the spotlight on existing projects that come to make themselves known. Overall, this adds to the sense that, in some ways, the entire serious games space is still very supply-side driven in terms of visible activity. I'm beginning to see more customer-side activity, and we are truly starting to see the benefits of more seasoned projects, developers, and funding activity. There is no doubt in my mind that more projects are coming online, and regardless of the overall state of universal justification for serious games it is critical we get to keep building software. It's one thing to say people want to measure outcomes, it's entirely different for people to wait until we've had the chance to build three or four generations of things and proclaim we're giving it our best shot. Right now, the current developers are showcasing the end of generation one of various projects, and the beginning of generation two. Of all the projects shown in the previous Serious Games Summits, only a couple are back for new looks - the rest are virgin efforts or severely revamped versions of previous projects. This reminds me of the progress I've seen in the past at successive GDC and E3 shows, and I'm glad it's proving itself in the Serious Games space as well. What I'm seeing for next-generation projects are much more robust efforts at not only improving on the audio-visual fidelity of games, so they're more approximate to their commercial cousins, but also much more work being done to mature in areas like integration with learning systems and other simulation systems. If you can't integrate your game with other important technologies, then it will only get so far. I'm also seeing more work done to create games that are themselves serious game systems. The Army Game Project will further detail their effort to go from one-off game to a serious games platform, but efforts at BreakAway Games and other developers I've spoken with indicate the shift from hard-coded custom delivery to something more robust and platform-like is taking hold. The success of this will be an important point to watch for." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including many more key thoughts on the serious gaming space (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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