In challenging economic times, when all around us our losing their jobs…(sorry, heads) it is somewhat questionable whether the commercial argument for serious games/immersive simulations should be centered around the concept of ‘fun’.
Naturally the learning design and delivery folks would like people to have fun whilst learning (especially if it is evaluated through ‘happy sheets’ as then they invariably get good feedback). When it comes to selling this to the CxO, however, you may as well substitute FUN for another, slightly longer ‘F-word’ .
You will get no argument from me that learning should be anything other than fun (although I prefer ‘enjoyable’ and ‘satisfying’) – Raph Koster’s wonderful book ‘A theory of Fun’ and 2005 GDC/Serious Games Summit keynote confirmed everything I always felt about fun and learning – but I still cringe when I see people in this space wondering why their sales pitch crashed when they major on fun rather than results.
There was with some ironic smirking Corti-ness therefore, when I saw the front page advert for Halo Wars on this week’s print edition of MCV.
Whilst many in the serious game space try to present the soft and fluffy ‘funness’ of our offerings (which are rarely actually that fun) there, in the advert, stood Master Chief, with two Master Chief side-kicks and an army of Master Chiefs and the simple heading…”Have you got what it takes to be a great leader?”
Ironic, I feel, that this game, one of the best and most successful pure entertainment product experiences of all time is marketed with a title that one would most commonly associate with the marketing of a very traditional piece of corporate training.
The more pertinant question might be: “Which product breeds the best young leaders for world of business? The serious games or entertainment games products”. The answer might scare a few people out there!