Corporate Learning Games
Serious game development in adult learning & development
– going from potentially big to really big.
Saturday 3rd October 2009
Who am I to talk?
CEO, co-founder, PIXELearning
Background includes Mech Eng, Disaster Management &
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
“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
“It’s Time To Take Games Seriously”
Forrester report (TJ Keitt and Paul Jackson), August 19, 2008
Supply & demand
Risk v reward
Profit & loss
Seasonal factors on demand
You Play World of Warcraft? You're Hired!
Coaching / mentoring
Division of labour
Working as (remote) teams
Serious Games Taxonomy (Sawyer & Smith)
Reasons why companies are getting excited....
To make adult learning &
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
How cut costs AND improve results (inc sales, reduced errors, be compliant etc)
Games allow people to practice
Learning games allow
PRACTICE people to experience
a scenario or
situation in a safe,
“Game the skill” realistic manner.
Putting theory into
Builds on theory and
Games are complex
Learning games focus
Higher-order thinking skills
Cognitive “Do it right whilst under
pressure” - lots of
Focus on strategy and
dissemination decision-making, for
example, not just
Virtual experience is cheaper
Learning games allow
users to acquire ‘virtual
“Screw up in-game…not
on the job”.
They can then apply this
to the real world –
Adults like to solve problems
Learning by doing!
Adults like problem-
ADULT LEARNING challenges and clear
relevance to work or
Learning (goals, Learning games are
tasks) based on their job role
Games are engaging
Learning games positively
reception Moving from “fill the vessel”
with facts to….
…empower the user to make
decisions and experience
Competition & collaboration
MULTIPLAYER learners to collaborate
Added realism and compete.
Makes experience very
Peer support + learn
Peer review from others.
Sounds a bit dull
- By order of the corporation
Our Worlds of Makrini – a.k.a. The Diversity & Inclusion Game
PIXELearning & Global Lead LLC
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
What is the opportunity?
Global ‘education’ market = US$2 trillion
Handle with care!
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)
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)
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)
What are they doing?
Induction Understanding marketing
Change management Understanding finance
Sales training Pitching to investors
Project management International trade
Customer service Entrepreneurship
Channel support Energy wise IT
Leadership development Call centre training
Dealing with difficult people IT security for SMEs
Appraisals Business studies
B2C promotions Citizenship
Diversity & inclusion Financial compliance
Audit intern training Protecting IP
IT systems familiarization Corporate Social Responsibility
Where are they doing it?
#1 N. America #3 W. Europe
#4 SE Asia
Who are they doing it for?
HP Coca Cola
BP IBM Orange
BNP Paribas Raytheon British Telecom
Fifth Third Bank Northrup Grunman Belgacom
L’Oreal PWC Volvo
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?
Flexibility, low cost, & improved training
..the answer is clear: employee engagement.
Basically learning-by-doing with highly engaging experiences.
Real measurable business benefits!!!!!
Definable Return On Investment -
Demonstrable business benefits at a keen cost....
Predictable delivery and acceptable cost of custom solutions.
Clear understanding of and support through process
Must clearly target a business need
Already exists (off the shelf product)?
In one word: Outcomes.
Proof that the investment is justified
Accelerated and lasting change in attitudes
Easily modifiable and interoperable -learning environments.
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) A NICHE
Multimedia (e.g. Director)
Games consoles (mods through to 100% custom)
Mobile phones / PDAs / iPhones
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.
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
“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
CISCO Mind Share
“Learn all about
networking whilst you
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) - http://starbankthegame.bnpparibas.com
Delivering productivity gains:
(“gaming the skill”)
Technical audit training
US audience (approx 1,000/yr)
1:3 the simulation:instructor blend
Desire to ‘do’ rather than ‘learn about’
Assessed to Kirkpatrick L4 / Phillips ROI
The KPMG simulation enables learners to:
1. Practice both technical & soft (client-facing) skills
2. Experience accurately recreated audit processes
3. Understand real world cause & effect
Measured productivity improvement > $13m
Delivering effective learning to all staff:
(where eLearning could not)
Almost compliance (major cost of failure)
F2F costs impossible
Very sensitive subject (diversity)
Staff apathy / reluctance
Makrini (the diversity game) is:
1. Easily accessed (web-based )
2. Engaging & rewarding (people will use it)
3. Very practical (recognisable tasks)
Drivers / ROI / Metrics
Helping to manage change:
(show WHY not just HOW)
Major SAP rollout
Major process streamline/change
Global workforce to communicate with
PET (the Process Education Tool):
1. Easily accessed (through LMS)
2. Accurately mapped internal processes
3. Demonstrated business cause & effect
IT security games
Deliver mix of business
and technology courses
Traditionally F2F in
EMEA and AsiaPac
HP MEAI limited by time
Audiences limited by
time, travel etc
Caspian Learning & Thinking Worlds
3D Serious Game engine & authoring tools (aimed at learning designers)
Simple, branching tree scenarios – cartoon style, pre-canned animations depicting
business situations for role playing
Virtual World technology (from There.com) used to allow real time, multiplayer
role play in 3D environments
Gamelearn - Merchants
2D/Cartoon style, easy to use game set in historical setting (Venice, 15th century) to
train users in sales/negotiation skills
IBM – Innov8/Innov8 2.0
3D and browser-based 2D – raise awareness of and provide skills training around Operations
Management / Business Process Management.
Browser-based 2D/3D mix (Flash) – Anti-money laundering training game
Project management training – fictional scenario about construction/management of
world’s largest shark aquarium in China)
Infiniteams – team building / dynamics
using 2D isometric style (browser based
The Winning Game – arcade style game,
based around proven research into
Visual Purple/BTS (US)
‘Winning in Wireless’ – 3D, role play +
business sim – business skills
Oil exploration sim – mix of pre-canned
3D animations, 2D sim interfaces – huge
detail in underlying models
Multiplayer (teams of 4), Flash-based using Adobe Flash Media Server. Challenges with firewall,
Leadership development game. Focuses on problem-solving, communication
Multiplayer (teams of 4), Flash-based using Adobe Flash Media Server.
Challenges with firewall, LMS etc.
What are the challenges?
“So, why aren’t we all
rich yet then?”
• Training market is conservative & usually slow
• Lack of available case studies, examples and
• Predominance of ‘work for hire’ model
• Confusing number of orgs, tech, products, etc
– no clear offering
• Global economy – risk averse, low training
Specific ‘characteristics’ of the training world.....
• LMS’s (control) + SCORM/AICC standards
• DDA/Section 508
• Commoditisation of eLearning
• Training works with ‘content’ creation
• Linear instructional approaches
• “Specify then build” approach to enterprise software
• IT security & infrastructure
going price of
Work for hire...
• $50k - $250k normal range
• $500k - $1m possible
OTS product/solutions approach...
• $10 - $100 per seat
• $10k - $100k site licenses
• annual licenses
* What is ‘a game’?
“Can you build it by
the end of the • Driven by budget quarters / year
• OTS products would be much
more attractive (but clients want
• 20:80 rule – makes clients
• Normal range 2 to 6 months
• Usually to fit in client budget quarters (3 or 6 months)
* Based on analysis of PXL
So...where do you go from here?
Serious Games People LinkedIn group
Books & papers
- Clark Aldrich (3 books)
Virtual Worlds, Real Leaders - IBM Global Innovation Outlook 2.0 Report
Seriosity report – leadership in games and at work
Serious Games Summit – 23rd March in San Francisco (alongside GDC)
Publications The E-Learning Guild 360 Research report, March
2008, “Immersive Learning Simulations”.
+44 (0) 24 7623 6971
The Serious Games Institute,
Kevin Corti, CEO Coventry Innovation Village,
Cheetah Road, Coventry
email@example.com CV1 2TL
Company web: www.pixelearning.com