Serious Games Project Overview
There is a good overview of current serious games projects on Gamasutra by Ben Sawyer (Mr Serious Games I would say :) ). It's tightly related to the nearly arrived Serious Games Summit. He also gives good insights about the state of the sector. Some relevant excerpts I found pertinent:
the diversity of content is growing and the quality of organizations, developers, and companies participating is also ratcheting up. (...) Much of what we can now make of the serious games sector does have to do with the branded aspect the moniker that ‘serious games' creates. It may not be perfect in all its glory, but it does the job. Serious games is now a branded aspect of the overall games space but it still means many different things to different people, and narrow views or opinions can sometimes poorly define the big picture. (...) We are still primarily fueled by the triumvirate of gaming's ascendancy as a media form, positive press coverage, and a willingness to experiment on the part of various individuals and organizations. The space is not driven by lots of proven results and sustainable business models. (...) the entire serious games space is still very supply-side driven in terms of visible activity. I'm beginning to see more customer-side activity, and we are truly starting to see the benefits of more seasoned projects, developers, and funding activity. (...) The activity in Europe is itself fueled by more direct grants through various government educational agencies, although some local media agencies and economic development agencies are also taking part.(...) a huge research gap in serious games, but so far it hasn't hurt things because people are still getting new projects online. At some point, however, the justification and design issues related to determining the return on investment and outcomes from game-based approaches may become too hard to overcome without more and better research(...)
The part about the connection with research is clever, I like this statement:
It is also important to note here, though, that there is a problem within the research community where some people expect us to find a so-called silver bullet - a piece of research that spans many major questions about games. We will never be so lucky. Instead, we must eat at the edges more, and be more specific to the traits successful projects share, versus finding the secret formula to Coke. (...) Thankfully, through efforts at DiGRA, FAS, Education Arcade, Future Play, and key institutions we are seeing research that is meaningful, More importantly, the systems through which the collective community can address research needs is getting better.
Why do I blog this? I think that serious games is an emerging field that sounds promising and that there will be plenty of things to work on with regards to user experience analysis + potential learning gains investigation as we do currently.