Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Enterprise: Serious Games?

You might ask what does video games and employee training have to do with each other, and then most likely you would find absolutely no answer for it. I came across this post on ZDNet from Larry Dignan which discusses how Forrester Research seems to believe that ‘serious gaming’ will likely come to an enterprise near us very soon. Here’s the full report from Forrester Research. So what’s the business value derived from video games in businesses?

Forrester notes that serious gaming is being used by emergency responders training through scenarios of terrorist attacks, university staff for its business process management game, and Cisco, Hilton Inn, and Johnson & Johnson to teach things like math, customer service skills, and drug development. Interesting enough, this is what Forrester mentions regarding proving ROI:

How do you prove their business worth and ROI? This is the hardest of the five questions facing serious games. For some games, such as advergames, it’s easy to see the link to ROI: For example, Burger King’s three Xbox 360 titles developed by Blitz Games Studios ranked among the top-selling Xbox games over the winter holidays in 2006 and were credited with the company’s 41% profit increase in its second quarter. However, such a 1 to 1 relationship between a game and a desired outcome is often hard to tease out in something as nebulous as diversity training. And for those deploying games, divining whether their target audience internalized the lesson instead of just becoming good at playing the game is paramount.

What’s your take on enterprise gaming? Is there really any business value to this practice?

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