Are you aware of the fact that the application of casual games also exist outside of the entertainment industry? Most people dont seem to know this, so here are a few examples of how casual computer and video games and the technologies associated with them are being employed in the following industries:
- Corporate training;
- Health care;
- Military training.
To give you an idea of how casual games are being deployed in these industries, let's take a look at each in turn...
Application of Casual Games in Advertising
There are two main forms of advertising featured in casual games. The first is commonly referred to as "advergaming". Mainly used by business, an advergame (synonym for advertising game) is a web or downloadable game in which the primary objective is to build brand awareness. The brand is essential to and prominently features throughout the game.
Advergaming is considered to be one of the most effective online branding techniques used by businesses today. Why? There are two reasons.
The first is due to the tremendous reach of casual games remember that hundreds of millions of people across the world play casual games. What a branding opportunity!
The second is due to the high frequency of exposure to the brand people play casual games over and over again and as a result are exposed to the brand over and over again.
A good example of an advergame could be a Toyota-themed racing game featuring Toyota cars.
The second form of advertising is in-game advertising, which involves advertising specific products such as Coke or McDonalds within a game. Although most consumers attempt to avoid advertisements, as games more closely imitate the real world, the presence of advertising within them can enhance the realism of a virtual world. Some games even go so far as to feature banner advertisements that allow for direct integration with electronic commerce.
Picture this. An in-game advertising company concludes an agreement with a pizza chain whereby you can click on a pizza banner advert while playing your favorite game. The result of the click is the delivery of a pizza to you personally without interrupting your game play. How cool would that be?
Application of Casual Games in Corporate Training
The military has used video games as a training tool for the last 20 years. Large corporations, such as IBM and Nokia, are now catching on to this method of training their employees.
Games can be used as training tools for basic office situations, or they can be tailored for a particular industry. An example of the latter is a simulation game developed for Pfizer employees about the drug development process.
However, in order to be effective, employee training requires students to both learn and retain the information being imparted to them. Video gaming is permitting organizations to improve the training of their employees, both by engaging them more actively and by testing their comprehension of the material presented.
The idea is pretty simple. Why not use the interactivity and fun of video games to train and develop your young, game-savvy staff members on key business skills? Business skills such as marketing, finance and management, just to name a few.
Furthermore, video games used for this purpose are cost-effective. Why? Firstly, since these games dont require complicated game play or complex graphics, they are considerably cheaper to develop than their entertainment counterpart.
Secondly, with this method of learning your employees dont necessarily need to travel to some central training site in order to receive training. Instead, all they need is access to a computer/server with the game software already installed. Besides, if your employees are having fun while learning, they will want to play these games in their own time, perhaps even at home.
Thirdly, your employees will most likely have a lot more fun with this method of learning than with the traditional methods and, therefore, would be enticed to learn. Imagine actually having fun while youre learning. Wouldnt this entice you?
Application of Casual Games in Education
How about the application of casual games in the education sector?
Scientists from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) say parents and educators who believe that computer and video games do more harm than good to young learners who play them are way off track.
After spending a year studying video games and their effect on children, the FAS concluded that playing these games could pave the way to a potentially new form of education one which learners would find so fascinating that they would be more than willing to spend hours learning on their own..
What can educational games teach your children? By employing the same or similar features found in commercial games, educational games could teach your children many skills in an engaging and motivating manner.
For example, educational games could be used to improve a childs cognitive abilities, as well as be used as a platform for practicing existing or developing new skills within a framework of real world goals, rules and situations.
Furthermore, these games could also be used to teach old subjects in new ways. For example, in the civilization-building games, players may explore subjects such as mathematics, how computers work and geography within the structure and rules of the game.
Application of Casual Games in Healthcare
Casual games have vast possibilities to advance healthcare, both through patient care and professional training. One example of a video game that is directly serving the needs of patients is Re-Mission, developed by HopeLab for young people with cancer.
Re-Mission which attempts to combine entertainment with education is a third person shooter where players try to shoot cancer cells inside a patient. The video game is a true-to-life cancer simulation, helping kids to visualize and conquer the disease.
Players learn about the benefits of proper diet, chemotherapy and radiation, as well as the important side effects and complications of cancer treatment, including bacterial infection, nausea, fever and constipation.
In addition, HopeLab also used Re-Mission to test the effects of playing the game on adolescents and young adults with cancer. The study yielded positive results for those that played the game.
HopeLab have identified four other diseases in which they believe there is potential to have a great impact. These are obesity, sickle cell disease, autism and major depressive disorders.
Other areas in which video games can be applied within the health care industry include: games employed to train doctors and nurses, games used to alleviate stress levels, games interactively linked to exercise equipment to increase fitness participation (exergaming) and games utilized to assist pregnant women.
Application of Casual Games in Military Training
Technologies available within the interactive entertainment industry are also being used by the U.S. military. Many areas within the military are either already using or are in the process of developing video games to be used as a training tool for soldiers.
In fact, in 2004, the U.S. Army decided to establish its own video games studio to develop, publish and distribute games which, for example, enables soldiers in remote locations to train together for complicated missions that require some kind of coordination.
The Talon Robot System a robot used to search and photograph caves and inaccessible terrain relied on video game software at all stages of its development. Video game software was also used to test the robot before construction had begun. The Talon Robot System reduced casualties by permitting soldiers to perform these dangerous searches remotely.
Often, games developed by the U.S. military are tailored and then released for consumers. For example, Full Spectrum Warrior, a realistic game developed for the U.S. Army to simulate combat has a modified version which is available to the general public.