Blog | Gamification

Business Games: When CIOs get serious about the Gaming Industry

Business Games: When CIOs get serious about the Gaming Industry
share on
by Sanjeev Kapoor 07 Jun 2021

For over ten years, the gaming industry is thriving: Games on smartphones and on personal computers are enjoyed by tens of millions of consumers worldwide. The gaming market is already valued at tens of billions of dollars and is expected to continue to grow at a significant Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). Modern games are pleasant, user-friendly and create an entertaining experience for their users. In several cases they are also seen as powerful tools for exercising critical thinking, improving team spirit, and boosting collaborative problem-solving. These properties have given rise to business uses of gaming: Nowadays many enterprises leverage games and gamification concepts in business applications.


Understanding Serious Games

The term “serious games” denotes games that serve other purposes than entertainment, such as learning, nudging, behavioral change, and soft skills development. The rationale behind the development and use of serious games is to develop an engaging, entertaining, immersive, and pleasant experience for their end-users. In this direction, the gaming scenario is considered in conjunction with learning strategies and domain knowledge. Many serious games involve rewards and competition towards motivating users to engage in training and skills development activities. Furthermore, serious games are extremely efficient when it comes to training entire groups of learners in settings like collaborative work and team projects.

Serious gaming is already used in various sectors, including the education, healthcare, hospitality, marketing, and manufacturing industries. Specifically:

Gamification or something else.
Let's help you with your IT project.

  • Healthcare: In healthcare settings, serious games are used for purposes like virtual coaching and rehabilitation. For example, there are games that model rehabilitation sessions as gaming missions and reward their users for completing them. Likewise, there are clinically designed and validated games that train the cognitive abilities of seniors to help them prevent cognitive impairments.
  • Sales and Marketing: In sales and marketing, serious gaming enables end-users to practice their skills in simulated yet realistic settings. For instance, salesmen compete in the scope of games where they must generate leads, negotiate successfully with clients, and close deals. In this context, salesmen collect credits for successful deals and are promoted when hitting specific cumulative targets.
  • Smart Cities: Serious games are used in smart cities contexts to motivate citizens’ engagement in sustainability activities and to boost changes in their lifestyle and behaviours i.e., towards a “greener” lifestyle. For example, they are used to incentivize citizens’ engagement in activities like recycling, green transport, and increased use of clean forms of energy.
  • Hospitality: Hotels, travel agents and other hospitality companies need to train large numbers of seasonal workers every year. Serious games offer opportunities for training these workers in a virtual, yet realistic environment. They simulate settings like welcoming customers, phone calls answering, and responses to requests for customer service.
  • Manufacturing: Serious games are also employed by manufacturers in their efforts to upskill or reskill factory workers. Complex production and warehouse management tasks like pick and pack, product assembly and welding operations are modeled and represented in a gamification context. This enables factory workers to train frequently and safely.

Serious games are not like every other video or mobile game. They come with some characteristics that set them apart from conventional gaming experiences. Specifically:

  • Collaboration and Competition: Conventional games are mostly about playing against others. Serious games add a competitive element, yet they also emphasize team play and collaboration.
  • Practical dimension: Serious games have a practical dimension that helps users learn and apply learnt concepts in day-to-day-work.
  • Soft Skills Focused: In addition to team spirit and collaboration, business games emphasize other soft skills  such as social and presentation skills.
  • Business Contexts Simulations: Many serious games comprise business simulations, which facilitate users to transfer gaming contexts in real-life business environments.


Technology Trends in Serious Games

The gaming industry has always had a two-way relationship with IT technologies. On the one hand, innovative games have driven technological development in areas like Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), video streaming and Augmented Reality (AR). On the other hand, the development of innovative technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), high-speed networks, and cloud computing is enabling unprecedented advances in gaming technology and applications. This symbiotic relationship between technology and gaming is an inspiration for serious games stakeholders, while driving the main trends that define the present and future of serious games. Specifically, the future of serious games is influenced by the following technological advances:

  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR-based gaming lies in the integration of a gaming context with the user’s real-life environment. This integration takes place in real-time, leads to a unique cyber-representation of the gaming context, and enables immersive experiences. The latter experiences make users feel that they are interacting with the digital environment. AR experiences emerged as a follow up to VR (Virtual Reality) experiences to add a real-life dimension to artificial settings enabled by VR. Nowadays, AR and VR environments can be combined, which leads to MR (Mixed Reality) experiences that mix real and virtual worlds in sophisticated ways. In the coming years, the number of serious games that leverage AR will increase. This growth will be driven by various factors, including: (i) The proliferation of the number and type of AR devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, glasses), which are gradually becoming available at lower costs; and (ii) The emergence of 5G telecommunication networks, which will facilitate the development of immersive experiences based on the tactile internet.
  • Cloud Gaming: In coming years more and more users of serious games will access game streams through the cloud. This is already available, but not always dominant over conventional game purchase modalities such as buying a physical copy of the game or downloading it directly to the game console. Buying a physical copy of a game can provide faster access to it, as it obviates the need for very lengthy downloads. However, on-line downloading presents users with a wealth of choices, as users can browse and select a game from a virtually unlimited library of titles. Nevertheless, there are cases where users face storage issues with their console, as well as cases where their hardware cannot deliver the desired performance. Cloud gaming offers significant value through bypassing the above-listed problems. With cloud gaming, users can stream the game to their console in real time. This enables users to access the best gaming experience without extra hardware investments.
  • Incentives and Rewards: Future serious games will increasingly leverage the power of incentives towards engaging users. This is already happening in contexts like sales and marketing, yet it is expected to dominate serious games in other industries as well. Corporate environments tend to reward good employees for their performance. Hence, it is natural for serious games to embrace this concept as well.


During the last couple of years many enterprises have leveraged the benefits of serious gaming in their business. Managers all over the world are increasingly dispelling the hype and taking advantage of the business benefits of serious games. This is the reason why it is really time for more CIOs to get serious about business gaming.

Leave a comment

Recent Posts

get in touch

We're here to help!

Terms of use
Privacy Policy
Cookie Policy
Site Map
2020 IT Exchange, Inc