IBM Shows Why Tech Companies Should Take Serious Games Seriously

IBM recently launched CityOne, a serious game that poses the kinds of questions about water, power, finance, and retail that city planners face daily. It's a powerful tool for a B2B company like IBM to market its products and services in a way that engages the customer more deeply, making the company's value proposition more clear and compelling. 

IBM has been making a serious investment in serious games for quite a while. Here's a short interview with IBM's serious games program manager Phaedra Boinodiris, in which she lists some of the business applications of serious games. Here's a brief overview of the work IBM has done with USC to incorporate a serious game about business process management (BPM) into the USC business school's curriculum.

The BPM game, INNOV8, demonstrated that a serious game can translate a dry and complex subject like BPM into something more interesting and vivid. It appeals to human psychology in a way that even the best white paper can't. Humans are visual creatures, so it's often more effective to show us a principle in action rather than talk about it. A serious game like INNOV8 pushes other buttons in our brains, too. For example, there's a higher probability that someone will finish playing a game than reading a white paper. If the game succeeds at keeping your attention, you want to see it through its conclusion.

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