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If the post title is a little provative for you then I’m sorry but this press release from ESA (The Entertainment Software Association) made me angry.

URL:

http://www.theesa.com/newsroom/release_detail.asp?releaseID=24

“JUNE 23, 2008 – WASHINGTON, DC – Seventy percent of major employers utilize interactive software and games to train employees according to a new study released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The study data also showed that more than 75 percent of businesses and non-profits already offering video game-based training plan to expand their usage in the next three to five years. “

The reasons I find this ludicrous are that:

  1. It less than subtly bundles ‘interactive software’ and ‘games’ in a statement that appears to suggest that it is the game element that forms a high proportion of this training – WRONG!
  2. It fails to define what is meant by the word ‘game’ – complex immersive simulation or hangman folks???
  3. It further adds to the cloud of confusion that our (as in all of us in the serious games space) target customers are faced with. There are quite enough people out there over-hyping, exaggerating and just plain fibbing without a respectable organisation like ESA adding to the confusion.

Seventy percent of organisations undoubtedly use some form of ‘interactive software’ for training but this will include very mundane first generation eLearning, CBT and CD ROM software. Far less will use even simple frame games (e.g. whack a millionaire hangman word-spell to remember 10 dull facts v27.0). The proportion that currently use serious games, immersive simulations or virtual worlds will, I guess, be much nearer to 0.7% than 70% and that might be over-estimating current uptake.

Message to ESA and everybody in this space – 99.9% of small and large companies out there in the world have yet to come across the mediums about which we evangelise about. Many will – in time and with much effort – but let us not make things difficult for ourselves by confusing those that need convincing. 

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