Thursday 21 May 2015

The greatest trainers: Not-so-serious games

Nowadays there is usually a too wide gap between 2 different worlds: Commercial games and training ones.

The "first world" is trying its best in order to achieve maximum benefit from the market. These games are depending on the companies that are struggling to find the best commercial application.

And in order to develop the most profitable game, they look what users like most. They reach the market, check the applications which are hits, and create a new one.

The "second world" has a different focus, since it is based on a different sort of needs. This world is in charge of creating serious games, training games, simulation and virtual trainers...

This second world has the purpose of improving specific areas, such as people with special needs, or some application for a specific market.

Until this moment, in the past years, these two worlds have been able to live on their own, achieving incomes from very different markets. The commercial game industry did the best for the money, and now it has more possibilities to keep on succeeding, due to the natural viability it provides.

But... what happens with the applications created through expensive consortiums? These experimental apps have been to heavy to be mainained, since they have not been probably focusing enough in being viable tools. Of course they may have some business model based on licenses or some similar channel. But real market is much more challenging than defining a simple model to generate incomes.

In real market you have to consider how expensive or simple is adapting the tool, reaching customers, maintaining users... and more complex variables appear when we are talking about trainers.

A trainer is a tool that is not only intended to play, but it is a serious game: It has an added functionality which usually leads to a needed initial configuration, plus some learning curve of tool, and a compromise of a specialist to keep track of the user that is using the tool. And this idea is great, but it is a quite delicate point to model a functionality that may be easy to use and adapt to the market.

If specialists need to learn a hard configuration... they will not use the trainer as developers wish.
If the tool is to complex to understand by itself, it will not be used by users unless specialist force them to use; and this behaviour leads to a complete failure of the tool in the market.
If the tool is not funny by itself, users will not keep on using the tool. So without a push from specialist, the tool will be shelved again.

And in any case, specialists need a tool that help them with their job in a simple way. Minimum effort, maximum value added.

Why are these features so relevant? Because a tool will be only able to thrive in the market if it is widely used enough to generate thousands of incomes to maintain the support and evolution naturally required.

Thus, for today, we just want to leave a simple message to all trainer developers: Remember to create a Not-so-serious game: A "serious game" that has a strong component for amusement, in the same way games have. So taking this into consideration, you will make your trainer easier and fun-loving to use. People like learn having a good time, not thinking of working or just studying.

If people like, people will use it. Just this simple.


Post a Comment