One of the activity of GaLA deals with providing an overview and tentative analysis of the market of Serious Games (SG). The idea is to study the actual and future market and the actors in the value chain. In its current status, the market analysis draws a picture of the companies that are producing and selling Serious Games, and is based on data gathered on the web from 250 companies, mainly from Europe and the US. Based on the inputs from previous studies on Serious Games, we have divided the market into the following sectors: 1) Education, 2) Corporate, 3) Healthcare, 4) Military / Government, 5) NGO/ Games for Goods and 6) Advertising / Media.
In this post, I would like to highlight some of the observations made in the study that still need further research for the results of the analysis to gain strength.
Is Education the preferred market sector?
The preliminary findings show that, of the examined organisations, almost half (1/2) produce SG for the Education sector and one fourth (1/4) offer products and services only to customers such as schools, universities, etc.
Can a company live on the exclusive production/sale of Serious Games?
It seems that once opportunities are found in the Corporate, Healthcare and Games for Good sectors, an important number of companies working for those sectors chose to dedicate entirely to the production of Serious Games (in particular games for training and awareness raising), as if the demand was sufficient to focus on this single product. Actually, according to our data, companies which main business addresses the Corporate, Healthcare or Games for Good sectors, tend to specialise in the production of Serious Games.
Is the development of SG ‘on demand’ specific to certain sectors?
Companies working for the Education, Corporate, Healthcare and Military/Gov sectors tend to develop their own games. On the opposite, Games for Good are generally sponsored by an organisation and then distributed by this organisation. Similarly, an important quantity of games for the Advertising sector seems to be developed on demand to address the customers’ requests for particular advertisement or communication campaigns.
Are there sectors in which the demand for SG is higher or more specific than others?
Developers and publishers of Serious Games (although not exclusively) for the Education and Advertising sectors seem to prefer to work exclusively for those sectors. Maybe the particular expertise needed to address those sectors is not transferable to other sectors or those sectors have specific distribution channels that cannot be used with other sectors, or that there is sufficient demand in those sectors for companies to satisfy their ambitions.
Is it relevant to make a segmentation of the market per countries?
The tentative analysis of market divided by geography did not allow drawing clear conclusions, due to the bias that may be introduced by the initial sources of information that led to the discovery of the 250 companies, the lack of comparable information, as well as particular, culturally relevant information, such as, for instance, the translation of the terminology ‘Serious Game’ in other languages.
In summary, further research is needed to answer the various questions that derive from the initial findings and there is still work to do to get a better picture of the market.
Enhance and extend the database about Serious Games producers
In addition to enhancing the quality of criteria and information gathered in the current data base of Serious Games producers, we plan to complete with missing data, and start analysing trends (i.e. see which companies have changed or disappeared, discover if there are new players, etc.). Another weakness of the current dataset is that most companies found are in the US and the UK. We also need to check if the reason can be the language. To our knowledge, little research is available on Serious Games in other languages than English and French.
Refine the analysis; look for trends and relevant conclusions
It seems that producers of games for the Education sector mainly produce SG for learning, but we still need to verify that they are not also producing games for other purposes (e.g. promoting learning). We also need to investigate if effectively publishers operate mainly in the Education sector, if it is true that in other sectors there are almost no publishers, that they are not part of the sector’s value chain. Finally, we would like to check whether specialisation in the production of SG is connected with focus on a particular market sector.
To conclude this post, I would invite anybody who has interesting information on the market of Serious Games and is willing to share it with us to do so. In particular, information about the market of Serious Games and relevant players in countries other than the US, the UK and France (which are well covered in our study) are particularly welcome.