Video games and its influence on the military industry

(via) In The Disruptive Potential of Game Technologies: Lessons Learned from its Impact on the Military Simulation Industry, Roger Smith discusses how computer games have a disruptive impact on military industry and suggest that these will disrupt other industries in the future. It basically tells the history of military simulations and how video-games' relationship to them, showing how game technologies rapidly moved into the industry from which they were originally created (military simulation). What happened is that new types of defense simulation companies "have emerged and do not attempt to re-create products from scratch, but instead seek out customers who require modifications to commercial tools with which they are proficient".

Why do I blog blog this? Personally, I am less interested in the "serious game" aspect of this (plus I don't like that term), but instead, by the conclusive sidebar of the paper, which is about how we can draw lessons for other industries. Some excerpts:

"Specific lessons that have been learned in the military simulation industry are:

  1. Not Good Enough. The game technologies often do not appear to be good enough for the core customer base of the industry. However, (...) game technologies have the power of Silicon Valley behind them and the potential to become more than good enough for core customers.
  2. Raising the Standard. The visual appeal and human usability of games is far beyond that of most industrial software applications. These features are very attractive to customers and enable vendors to sway customers to their products much more easily than is possible with the traditional software tools.
  3. Customer Pull. As customers become aware of game-based tools in their industry they pull on their current suppliers to offer similar products. If established companies ignore these requests it creates a disruptive opportunity for an upstart company that will satisfy these needs.
  4. Explore Applicability. Established players in other industries should explore the potential improvements that game technology offers for their customers.
  5. Build Capabilities. If game technologies are entering an industry, leaders must determine whether to create their own in-house expertise or develop relationships with smaller game technology studios. There are a number of game studios that have been only marginally successful in selling games for entertainment, but who possess the skills necessary to apply these technologies to a new industry."

Some more general lessons about innovation and how people from the military industry sees the video-game business.