Ines Harmuth
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Serious games – overview

The playful, social and interactive qualities of computer and video games make them not just a fascinating entertainment medium, but also an effective tool for educational, therapeutic and problem-solving purposes. ‘Serious games’ is the technical term for computer and video games of this kind. Serious games are used in highly diverse ways to communicate complex knowledge, heighten motivation and support patients in their healing process. Games thus have incredible potential. Because, whether for assisting our ageing population or interactively conveying new knowledge and competencies, serious games can make an important contribution to all these societal challenges. They offer clear advantages in comparison to classical learning methods and can be implemented regardless of users’ age or affinity for games.

Most serious games are created by smaller studios, often in direct collaboration with companies or universities. The budgets for serious games are generally far lower than those for major blockbuster titles. Moreover, not all are for-profit applications. One reason for this is that, instead of a broad mass market, serious games are often conceived for a sharply focused target group and are only used within a company or for a specific patient group. Nonetheless, their market potential shouldn’t be underestimated!

‘Serious games increase learners’ motivation over the long term and make complex concepts easier to understand. Along with an enormous potential in many sectors, such as education or healthcare, they also have very good economic prospects. Serious games present a major opportunity for our knowledge-based society.’

– Felix Falk, Managing Director of game

game – the German Games Industry Association works for the comprehensive improvement of conditions for the games industry in Germany.

For the area of serious games, we therefore call for:

Games to enhance learning, in school and throughout life

Our educational system must take advantage of the opportunities offered by computer and video games for digital education in schools, vocational schools, universities and continuing education, and for lifelong learning. The development of games for use in educational instruction must be promoted and advanced in a targeted manner. Media literacy and programming knowledge are fundamental for school pupils in the digital age and must be a compulsory area of school curricula.

Gamification – helping through play

Computer and video games are more than entertainment. They can support people in nearly all spheres, open up new worlds of experience and serve to enhance performance in many areas. They are easily accessible and can often be utilised to save costs. The use of video games should therefore be promoted in all areas of life, especially in the digital health sector.

Further links

  • Our lists publishers and game development studios in the area of serious games.
  • Video games with educational potential – a curated selection of games for learning, compiled by Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur for parents, teachers and educators.
  • Games and Memory Culture – Online database for digital games with aspects of memory culture. The database is maintained by Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur and Arbeitskreis Geschichtswissenschaft und Digitale Spiele.
  • Database for serious games and Brochure Serious Games created in framework of the project ‘WTT Serious Games’ at the TU Darmstadt, including best practice examples for serious games and a map of professionales working in the field of Serious Games.
  • A filtered search for ‘Serious Games’ allows visitors to to view all association members relevant to this sector.