Industrial Gaming: Making money from games by not using them as games

Recently I attended the track Industrial Gaming at a conference here i Trondheim. The idea behind Industrial Gaming is for another industry then the Gaming Industry to benefit from developments that are done in and around computergames.

If you haven’t heard about it before, here is a brief into. As a field its just in it’s very beginning, but could be described in following terms:

  • Its  a subset of Serious Gaming
  • It want to take advantage of the symbiosis between industrial competence and game developer knowledge
  • It seeks to employ technological advancements in the computer game field
  • It wishes to use experience and know-how from games to create realistic and entertaining training sessions and a improved work flow.

This is the second time around I have seen Industrial Gaming present itself, and indeed there are some strong links between the Industry (in this case mainly the Oil Industry as it’s organized by Statoil Hydro), and Gaming – links that could benefit both.

First of all, much of the computer hardware used to process data have been driven forward by the development of games – but that could be said about most things done on a computer.  That they focused greatly on the technical side of things wasn’t that surprising, as technical development is alot more tangible then something as vague and ephemeral as “competence”. I commend Industrial Gaming for is trying to see what possibilities computer games can offer outside being a great tool for entertainment, but that is also not new: It’s been well argued that games have much to teach in about f.ex how we learn and how learning could be more rewarding.

What’s more important is that many of the people working with visualization processes in this field have experience from programming games or at the very least: Playing them. The experiences from games can be applied to non-game situation by using game developers knowledge of how to f.ex create good user interfaces, a good workflow and intuitive systems. What boggles me is that so few seems to bother to ask gamers about that?

If one thing has been shown in the history about computer games its’ that gamers often know more about how to improve the game then the developers.

Computergame developers do play games, but its the gamers themselves that sits with the many hours of experience with different systems and interfaces. If you want to know what engages players, ask them! If you want to know what feels intuitive in a UI, ask them! Gamers is a group that have extensive experiences (and usually a very reflected experiences at that) with human computer interactions – extending over several platforms and systems. But, as many times before – so few seem to be willing to recognize this as a type of expertize. I guess that if the gamer community dont, then noone else will…

What would it take for you to aknowledge skills achieved through gaming?

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