Thursday, September 20, 2007

Video Games: 11.2 Billion Reasons to Embrace the Technology

Think junior is wasting time playing those darn video games? Think again. Here are 11.2 Billion reasons why should you support junior’s dream of being a Game Developer. The Defense Industry Daily, reports the US Army is inking a contract that “would consolidate operations, maintenance, systems integration and engineering support services for the Army's live, virtual and constructive training systems into a single 10-year, $11-12 billion package…” (US ARMY).This means there are big plans for the small gaming industry. And those plans include aiding in the training and development of people.

How does this apply to leaders of today? Organizations all across the land recognize people as their greatest resources. As leaders it is important, that our greatest assets continue to grow and develop, in order for our organizations to stay healthy and competitive. With the advent of technology and some amazing innovators, the playing field is leveling off. You read stories of entrepreneurs creating and operating million dollar organizations out of the their home-based office. Therefore, one key to staying ahead of the competition is, the training and development of your team. Now, this is where the gaming and simulation industry can help. The adaptation of gaming technology for training can create a risk-free training environment, it’s cost effective, and it enhances the training experience for participants.

Over the years, the gaming industry has received a few black eyes from the public regarding game content. Mike Snider, USA Today, writes, “Some observers are critical of the combat-gaming trend, saying the games can mislead players into viewing war as fun, particularly among the target audience of young men.” Some groups have called for a ban on the ultra-violent games. Whatever your thoughts are about the industry, there are some advantages to researching and implementing the GAMING technology for training purposes.

One advantage, games are the perfect forum for risky training. According to Kristin Kalning, MSNBC Gaming Editor, the United States government and the military were early pioneers in adapting the gaming technology for personnel training and development. She goes on to report in her article, Small Industry, Big Plans, the partnership between the Department of Justice and Breakaway Games was created out of a need for the DOJ to teach potential first responders how to react to a major crisis in a post 9/11 world.” Some organizations are also using the technology to assist in the training of its sales staff. Sales reps, while playing the game, are placed in various selling scenarios. Where was this technology when I broke into sales?

When it comes to creating the simulation and training programs, cost is another advantage. Video games have been around for a long time, therefore much of the development is already in place; it’s a matter modifying existing structures. The previous comment is not meant to downplay the contribution of development today today’s game developers, it serves as an illustration of innovation at its best.

Gaming technology creates a “compelling training experience.” So says, President Scott Randall and EVP, marketing, Jim Wexler, of BrandGames, a New York-based marketing communications company specializing in learning games and simulations. If you a have child that is into gaming, think about how focused they are while playing. Michael Burczak, director of sales training at Ortho-McNeil, reports his reps are asking the company to do more, and create more challenging programs. When was the last time someone in your organization asked for more training?

The Gaming and Simulation programs will not obsolete traditional classroom training, but they’re definitely a complement to the traditional methods.

Here's a preview what's in store for part 2 & 3 of this series of the gaming and simulation industry.

Want to be a gamer?

The demand for programmers in the Gaming and Simulation Industry is growing. To help meet the need, DeVry University , a for profit, hands-on and career-oriented university, has developed the first of it’s kind – a Gaming and Simulation Degree.

Who and how they are using the technology.

  • Novartis uses a scenario-based simulation to train its sales managers in decision-making... Let the Sims Begin
  • Earliest adopters of game technology were the U.S. government and the military. US ARMY
  • The current Wyeth training programs all incorporate animation and virtual role-playing scenarios. Let the Sims Begin
  • New York and Cincinnati, OH-based retailer Macy's, Inc. (formerly Federated Department Stores), has added training simulations to train retail employees. The simulation tools are there to complement it’s current training program. Focus on Retail: Training for Changing at Macy's

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