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Siege Conference 2009: Corporate Learning Games


Presentation given by Kevin Corti (when CEO, now Founder of SoshiGames) about serious games used in business education and training. …

Presentation given by Kevin Corti (when CEO, now Founder of SoshiGames) about serious games used in business education and training.

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  • Reliable data hard to come by – very disparate (illustrates breadth of application)Loads of stats to indicate size and scale of POTENTIALDepends upon what definition you apply (there are many!)


  • 1. Corporate Learning Games
    Serious game development in adult learning & development
    – going from potentially big to really big.
    Kevin Corti
    CEO, PIXELearning
    Saturday 3rd October 2009
  • 2. Who am I to talk?
    CEO, co-founder, PIXELearning
    Background includes Mech Eng, Disaster Management & eLearning
    Co-founded PIXELearning in 2002, custom development studio (transitioning to content/product company)
    Primary area - corporate L&D
    Secondary areas – business education / marketing
    Developed some tech (LearningBeans)
    Based at Coventry University Serious Games Institute
    SGI / AWM / DTG / Serious About Games / IDM etc
  • 3. “Serious” Games? What the @%$#?
    “The use of games or gaming dynamics not simply to entertain the player, but rather to inspire a particular action, effect some type of attitudinal/behavioral change, or instill a particular lesson in the service of an organizational goal”.
    “It’s Time To Take Games Seriously”
    Forrester report (TJ Keitt and Paul Jackson), August 19, 2008
  • 4. Business education
    Supply & demand
    Inventory management
    Pricing strategy
    Risk v reward
    Profit & loss
    Seasonal factors on demand
  • 5. Management
    Understanding data
    Analytical thinking
    Strategic planning
    Performance improvement
  • 6. Entrepreneurship
    New product development
    Financing a business
    Developing markets
    Hiring key staff
    Financial management
    Achieving sustainability
  • 7. Civic planning
    Emergency planning
    Managing utilities
    Crime prevention
    Fiscal management
    Environmental management
  • 8. You Play World of Warcraft? You're Hired!
    Coaching / mentoring
    Division of labour
    Working as (remote) teams
    Effective communication
    Dispute resolution
  • 9. Serious Games Taxonomy (Sawyer & Smith)
  • 10. Reasons why companies are getting excited....
    To make adult learning & development…..
  • 11. What is driving interest?
    Class-based (F2F) training is expensive
    Logistically challenging to deliver F2F
    F2F delivers variable (unpredictable) quality/results
    eLearning very cheap but ‘shallow learning’
    How truly engage? >> drive participation?
    How deliver effective learning opportunities to large, geographically dispersed, audiences x-demographics?
    How cut costs AND improve results (inc sales, reduced errors, be compliant etc)
  • 12. Games allow people to practice
    Learning games allow people to experience a scenario or situation in a safe, realistic manner.
    Putting theory into practice.
    Builds on theory and post-reflection (blend)
    “Game the skill”
  • 13. Games are complex
    Learning games focus on higher-order thinking skills.
    “Do it right whilst under pressure” - lots of different information, competing demands.
    Focus on strategy and decision-making, for example, not just memorizing facts!
    Higher-order thinking skills
  • 14. Virtual experience is cheaper
    Learning games allow users to acquire ‘virtual experience’.
    “Screw up in-game…not on the job”.
    They can then apply this to the real world – transferable learning!
    Virtual experience
    Real world application
  • 15. Adults like to solve problems
    Learning by doing!
    Adults like problem-based learning, challenges and clear relevance to work or personal needs.
    Learning games are based on their job role and/or work environment.
    Learning (goals, tasks)
  • 16. Games are engaging
    Learning games positively encourage user participation.
    Moving from “fill the vessel” with facts to….
    …empower the user to make decisions and experience meaningful consequences.
    Learner-centric experiences!
    Active engagement
  • 17. Competition & collaboration
    Multiplayer allows learners to collaborate and compete.
    Makes experience very life-like, challenging and engaging.
    Peer support + learn from others.
    Added realism
    Peer review
    Group support
  • 18. Sounds a bit dull
    Erm, so…no aliens then?
    NO FUN
    - By order of the corporation
  • 19. Our Worlds of Makrini – a.k.a. The Diversity & Inclusion Game
    PIXELearning & Global Lead LLC
  • 20. Reasons to get excited
    New (less volatile) markets
    Much lower cost of entry
    Reuse existing technology & IP
    Different business models
    Annual recurring revenue streams
    Strong margin potential
    Strong growth potential
  • 21. What is the opportunity?
    Handle with care!
    Global ‘education’ market = US$2 trillion
    US training market = US$130bn (employs 500,000 people)
    UK training market = US$30bn
    Indian training market = US$1.6bn (25% annual growth)
    Global eLearning market = US$50bn
    Serious Games market = US$1bn to US$9bn Eliane Alhadeff (Future Making Serious Games blog)
  • 22. Business models
    Work for hire – custom development
    Content product provider (direct or indirect)
    Subscription-based models (PAYG, site license etc)
    Technology provider, direct or indirect (e.g. authoring tools, game engines)
    ‘Pure’ consultancy (pre-sales, concept development, project management)
    Free content, charged-for services (training, support, consultancy etc)
  • 23. Who is doing what?
    People from the games industry – E.g. Virtual Heros, Blitz & Noah Falstein
    People from the web/multimedia industry – E.g. DESQ
    People from the learning & development industry
    Virtual worlds – Forterra, 2nd Life etc
    Traditional modelling/simulation – G2G3, BTS (Visual Purple)
    Marketing agencies
  • 24. What are they doing?
    Change management
    Sales training
    Project management
    Customer service
    Channel support
    Leadership development
    Dealing with difficult people
    B2C promotions
    Diversity & inclusion
    Audit intern training
    IT systems familiarization
    Understanding marketing
    Understanding finance
    Pitching to investors
    International trade
    Energy wise IT
    Call centre training
    IT security for SMEs
    Business studies
    Financial compliance
    Protecting IP
    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 25. Where are they doing it?
    #2 UK
    #1 N. America
    #3 W. Europe
    #4 SE Asia
  • 26. Who are they doing it for?
    Best Buy
    Coca Cola
    British Telecom
    BNP Paribas
    Fifth Third Bank
  • 27. What are the business/project goals?
    One word (or short) answers only - what is the most important benefit/feature/'thing' your clients want right now from a serious game project or product?
  • 28. Flexibility, low cost, & improved training
    ..the answer is clear: employee engagement.
    Real measurable business benefits!!!!!
    Demonstrable business benefits at a keen cost....
    Clear understanding of and support through process
    Already exists (off the shelf product)?
    Proof that the investment is justified
    Basically learning-by-doing with highly engaging experiences.
    Definable Return On Investment -
    Predictable delivery and acceptable cost of custom solutions.
    Must clearly target a business need
    In one word: Outcomes.
    Accelerated and lasting change in attitudes
    Easily modifiable and interoperable -learning environments.
  • 29. What kind of technical approaches?
    Game industry technology & game craft (HL2, CryEngine, Neverwinter Nights etc)
    Specialised technologies with instructional purposes (e.g. Caspian, DISTIL)
    Casual/web games (e.g. Wild Tangent, Virtools & Flash)
    Virtual World tech (e.g. 2nd Life & |Forterra Olive)
    Standard Windows custom creation (C#, Java etc)
    eLearning tech (browser-based; AJAX, Flash)
    Multimedia (e.g. Director)
    Games consoles (mods through to 100% custom)
    Mobile phones / PDAs / iPhones
    For everyone
  • 30. VISA – Financial Soccer
    Financial Soccer is a fast-paced, multiple-choice question game, testing players’ knowledge of financial management skills as they advance down field, and try to score goals. Educators are encouraged to review and download the curriculum for students, before actual game play.
  • 31. CISCO – Binary Game
    “Come play the game enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. This game is posted on dozens of game sites and played in more than 125 countries”.
    “The game is not only fun, but it is considered by many to be the best way to learn how to use the binary number system.”
  • 32. CISCO Mind Share
    “Learn all about networking whilst you play!”
  • 33. BNP Paribas
    A space/sci-fi themed sim to teach basic banking services awareness & promote the bank’s brand for recruitment purposes.
    Built by KTM Advance (FR) -
  • 34. audit training
    Measured productivity improvement > $13m
    ASTD 2008
    Excellence in Practice Award Winner
    Delivering productivity gains: (“gaming the skill”)
    • Technical audit training
    • 35. US audience (approx 1,000/yr)
    • 36. 1:3 the simulation:instructor blend
    • 37. Desire to ‘do’ rather than ‘learn about’
    • 38. Assessed to Kirkpatrick L4 / Phillips ROI
    The KPMG simulation enables learners to:
    Practice both technical & soft (client-facing) skills
    Experience accurately recreated audit processes
    Understand real world cause & effect
  • 39. diversity training
    Delivering effective learning to all staff: (where eLearning could not)
    • Almost compliance (major cost of failure)
    • 40. F2F costs impossible
    • 41. Very sensitive subject (diversity)
    • 42. Staff apathy / reluctance
    Makrini (the diversity game) is:
    Easily accessed (web-based )
    Engaging & rewarding (people will use it)
    Very practical (recognisable tasks)
  • 43. Drivers / ROI / Metrics
    Helping to manage change: (show WHY not just HOW)
    • Major SAP rollout
    • 44. Major process streamline/change
    • 45. Global workforce to communicate with
    • 46. Staff resistance/inertia
    PET (the Process Education Tool):
    Easily accessed (through LMS)
    Accurately mapped internal processes
    Demonstrated business cause & effect
  • 47. IT security games
    • Deliver mix of business and technology courses
    • 48. Traditionally F2F in EMEA and AsiaPac
    • 49. Through training partners
    • 50. HP MEAI limited by time & resources
    • 51. Audiences limited by time, travel etc
  • Caspian Learning & Thinking Worlds
    3D Serious Game engine & authoring tools (aimed at learning designers)
  • 52. Daesign (FR)
    Simple, branching tree scenarios – cartoon style, pre-canned animations depicting business situations for role playing
  • 53. Foreterra (US)
    Virtual World technology (from used to allow real time, multiplayer role play in 3D environments
  • 54. Gamelearn - Merchants
    2D/Cartoon style, easy to use game set in historical setting (Venice, 15th century) to train users in sales/negotiation skills
  • 55. IBM – Innov8/Innov8 2.0
    3D and browser-based 2D – raise awareness of and provide skills training around Operations Management / Business Process Management.
  • 56. Playgen (UK)
    Browser-based 2D/3D mix (Flash) – Anti-money laundering training game
  • 57. RajSim (Holland)
    Project management training – fictional scenario about construction/management of world’s largest shark aquarium in China)
  • 58. TPLD (Scotland)
    Infiniteams – team building / dynamics using 2D isometric style (browser based / Java)
    The Winning Game – arcade style game, based around proven research into sports science
  • 59. Visual Purple/BTS (US)
    ‘Winning in Wireless’ – 3D, role play + business sim – business skills
  • 60. Xposim
    Oil exploration sim – mix of pre-canned 3D animations, 2D sim interfaces – huge detail in underlying models
  • 61. Leadership development
    Multiplayer (teams of 4), Flash-based using Adobe Flash Media Server. Challenges with firewall, LMS etc.
  • 62. Leadership development
    Leadership development game. Focuses on problem-solving, communication and coaching.
  • 63. Leadership development
    Multiplayer (teams of 4), Flash-based using Adobe Flash Media Server. Challenges with firewall, LMS etc.
  • 64. What are the challenges?
    “So, why aren’t we all rich yet then?”
    • Training market is conservative & usually slow to adopt
    • 65. Lack of available case studies, examples and proven results
    • 66. Predominance of ‘work for hire’ model
    • 67. Confusing number of orgs, tech, products, etc – no clear offering
    • 68. Global economy – risk averse, low training investment
  • Corporate/training ‘nuances’
    Specific ‘characteristics’ of the training world.....
    • LMS’s (control) + SCORM/AICC standards
    • 69. DDA/Section 508
    • 70. Commoditisation of eLearning
    • 71. Training works with ‘content’ creation
    • 72. Linear instructional approaches
    • 73. “Specify then build” approach to enterprise software
    • 74. IT security & infrastructure
  • Costs/pricing
    “What’s the going price of a serious game?”
    Work for hire...
    • $50k - $250k normal range
    • 75. $500k - $1m possible
    OTS product/solutions approach...
    • $10 - $100 per seat
    • 76. $10k - $100k site licenses
    • 77. annual licenses
    * What is ‘a game’?
  • 78. Timescales
    “Can you build it by the end of the month?”
    • Driven by budget quarters / year ends
    • 79. OTS products would be much more attractive (but clients want customisation)
    • 80. 20:80 rule – makes clients uncomfortable.
  • Timescales
    • Normal range 2 to 6 months
    • 81. Usually to fit in client budget quarters (3 or 6 months)
    1 month
    2 months
    3 months
    4 months
    5 months
    * Based on analysis of PXL projects 2007-09
    6 months
    7+ months
    Page 16
  • 82. So...where do you go from here?
    Web communities
    Serious Games People LinkedIn group
    Books & papers
    • Clark Aldrich (3 books)
    Virtual Worlds, Real Leaders - IBM Global Innovation Outlook 2.0
    Seriosity report – leadership in games and at work
    Serious Games Summit – 23rd March in San Francisco (alongside GDC)
  • 83. Publications
    The E-Learning Guild 360 Research report, March 2008, “Immersive Learning Simulations”.
  • 84. +44 (0) 24 7623 6971
    PIXELearning Ltd
    The Serious Games Institute,
    Coventry Innovation Village,
    Cheetah Road, Coventry
    CV1 2TL
    Kevin Corti,
    LinkedIn: web: www.pixelearning.comTwitter: @pixelearning