serious games

The “serious games” portion of the video game industry continues to grow, as analyst firm Metaari reports that the market will reach 3.5 billion in revenue during 2018. Serious games refers to games intended for educational or training purposes, including instruction for city planning, science, government, health care, history, social studies, and more. Metaari also predicts that serious game revenue will more than quadruple to 17 billion by 2023. Their report considered the trajectory of the leading serious gaming companies, which currently includes roughly 900 developers.

One example of a prominent serious game is Third World Farmers, a farming sim that presents the multitude of challenges, moral dilemmas, and tough decisions of agrarian life in a impoverished nation. Third World Farmers can be considered an part of the Games of Change movement, a subgenre of serious games that aim to bring about societal reform. Newsgames are another offshoot of serious games, presenting players with interactive depictions of real-world events. The acclaimed adventure game 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, has been considered part of this movement by some, as it depicts the events immediately following the Iranian Revolution.

Edutainment games can also be considered a branch of educational games, but they are generally regarded as games that are more squarely aimed at being entertaining than they are aimed at imparting a particular curriculum. Beloved series like Sim City, Total War, Oregon Trail, and Civilization can be considered part of this camp, as they all inform about their given setting, while also delivering deep gameplay experiences.

With the advent of virtual reality, serious games will undoubtedly eventually expand into this arena as well. The potential for creating gamified scenarios for various occupations could give people the capability to hone real world skills, while also providing vital information. With the projected boom of this industry, it is likely that we will see an expansion of serious games in school systems, as well as the private sector, further showcasing the unique power of interactive media.