Serious gaming: playful learning is now an option!

  • Say hello to Serious Games—the emerging niche in the India-based games-building business

Yes, there are such things as serious games—though that sounds like a contradiction in terms! Also called applied games, they are designed for a purpose other than pure entertainment. Typically, serious games are meant to train, educate or promote—in sectors such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, travel and logistics.

Earlier this year Nasscom partnered with the Netherlands government to promote serious gaming. A Bangalore-headquartered joint venture named Ludowise, has been set up between Ijsfontein, a Dutch applied gaming solutions player and Indian company Dhruva Interactive to create games for skill development education, healthcare etc.

Bangalore-based Dhruva Interactive is a leading Games company with some 300 game developers and a preferred partner for global majors like Microsoft, Sony, Disney and others. Amsterdam-headquartered Ijsfontein is a multiple award winning serious games company in Netherlands and Europe's leading expert in Playful Learning or serious gaming. They are bringing their core strengths of design expertise and production capacities together to become the leading applied games solution provider in the world.

Said Netherlands ambassador to India Alphonsus Stoeling: “The Dutch are known for their pioneering work and market leadership in the gamification and serious gaming. We believe that, we have a lot to offer to India in this space. I am extremely happy to see this relationship between two leading companies from our countries bear fruit with this joint venture.”

NASSCOM has also formed a special interest group or SIG on Applied Games chaired by Manisha Mohan, Executive Vice President, Tata Interactive Systems—under the aegis of its Gaming Forum. The SIG includes companies like Robosoft, Skilldom and Madrat Games.

On August 31, it held its first-ever industry get-together on Applied Games in Mumbai. The event featured presentation of use cases of games in life-sciences; research & behavioral science methods applied in games and emerging technologies like Virtual Reality, Holograms & Artificial Intelligence that can be used in games for enterprises.

Industry experts feel serious gaming gives much greater return on investment as compared to traditional training models, by making learning much more engaging, effective, on-the-go. Gaming means business in other ways too. The 2016 FICCI-KPMG suggests that the gaming industry in India is growing at a brisk 14.3 percent and will be a Rs 45 billion market within three years. In another indicator of how serious games can be, a nonprofit All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) was recently formed to bring together all stakeholders including games operators, players, games developers and payment gateways.

Now, it seems, some people can play—in office time—and be paid for it!

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