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Serious games for serious people

Forrester researchers come up with a new phrase--"serious games"--to define games that can teach vital skills to corporate workers. Go figure.

In a paper titled "It's Time To Take Games Seriously," Forrester analysts TJ Keitt and Paul Jackson came up with a new phrase to describe video games:

"The phrase the industry should rally around is 'serious games' to bring together the numerous disciplines. However, Forrester recommends identifying individual games with the underlying goal of the game, for example, calling Volvo Car UK's game an immersive learning simulation. We don't see this being an issue in a few years, as the old guard in the workforce is replaced by younger colleagues. As this happens, doubts about calling a game a game will subside. Future business leaders are already thinking in terms of games as seen with IBM's BPM video game coming out of a competition between business students at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."

For the next-generation workforce, accustomed to virtual worlds and everything digital, it's not a stretch to imagine that work will be more game-like, with winners and losers at the core and multiple scenarios to follow and calculated risks. As long as the games lead to "serious" results, yielding increased productivity and employee and customer satisfaction, they will be embraced by management no matter what they are called.