Why Companies Should Pay Attention to Games

As far as gaming goes, the E3 Expo generates the biggest headlines. But there’s another conference worth your attention and it’s going on now. The GDC, or Game Developers Conference, started March 23 in San Francisco and with it more than 500 lectures, the Game Developers Choice Awards, the Independent Games Festival, and tons of other activities and events. Since we’re “BusinessWeek,” I thought I’d highlight a few interesting things that might be a bit more pertinent to our special brand of readers.

While for many gaming may be escapism, the gaming business is confronting economic realities head one. There are a number of sessions dedicated to soldiering through the dismal economy. For example, "Stability in Story Weather," "Raising Capital in a Recession," and "Riding the Waves of Change: How Video Game Companies Can Flourish in an Environment of Relentless Volatility and Flux" are some of the talks given by a mix of industry veterans and representatives investment firms like Benchmark Capital.

The Serious Games Summit at GDC is another forum companies should pay particular attention to. Serious games are used in areas like education, government, health, military, science, corporate training, first responders, and social change. These are games that teach, train, and link. There's a wide array of speakers at these sessions: authors, professors, consultants, and developers. Some highlights include "Are Serious Games & Corporate Customers In Sync?" "Designing the First Social Reality Game to Motivate Change," and "Breaking Common Constraints of Serious Games: A New Market Approach."

Some examples of serious games featured at this year's GDC include: The Winning Game - Used by Scottish schools to teach reflection and self-analysis Innov8 v.2 - A business development game from IBM for students and professionals. Ultimate Team Play - Used by Hilton Hotels to train employees.

Whether or you're into gaming or would ever consider a serious game for your company, there's plenty of lessons to be drawn from the conference. Heck, in this economy, any new knowledge could make a difference. Keep up with gaming news or post your own at the Business Exchange.

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