Comparing Gamification, Serious Games and Simulations

Companies are constantly expanding their boundaries in new and innovative ways.  In fact, some of the cutting-edge concepts that we see today were not even imaginable just a few years ago. Corporations and educational institutions are using gamification, serious games and simulations to change the way we learn.

Defining Modern Gamification

The term gamification refers to the process of adding game-like concepts and abilities to various applications in order to make them more enjoyable for the user.  When properly implemented, it will engage the user and motivate them to take additional actions, which can range from learning new skills to completing a purchase.  Gamification has literally taken the business world by storm and it is used heavily in advertising, recruitment, education, sales and almost every facet of modern communication.

A great example of successful gamification is Khan Academy and their online learning system.  As the above video explains, students are incentivized through numerous concepts that they would normally find in video games, such as custom avatars, reward badges and point systems for completing tasks.

Defining a Serious Game

A serious game incorporates the same types of gamification elements into a traditional video game that’s designed specifically for learning, marketing or a number of other educational purposes.  By combining a traditional style of gameplay with very specific learning objectives, users can become fully immersed in an interactive video game that educates while it entertains.  Serious games are now used within almost every industry in the world today, and some of the top supporters are governments, school systems and large corporations.

Since the educational aspect is the main criteria for being categorized as a serious game, there is absolutely no telling how this technology will evolve for future generations.  While our team at Designing Digitally, Inc. prides ourselves on making some of the best 3D Serious Game titles on the market today, we also love to see the evolution of gaming just as much as you do.

Defining a Simulation

Gamification | Serious Games | Simulations

A simulation, on the other hand, will mimic a real-life challenge that a
student may eventually have to face within the workplace.
These training modules are often ultra-realistic as well, and it allows the user to gain valuable field experience within the safety of a training facility.  For example, just imagine the pressure it would create if a surgeon or a bomb squad technician could only learn by completing hands-on work in the field with everything on the line- that’s why these titles tend to be as realistic as possible from every imaginable angle.

Since most serious games also take on real-life types of challenges, they can sometimes have a very similar feel to simulations in some aspects.  The difference is that simulations do not rely on traditional gaming concepts to engage the user.  Take our USAFA Trivia game, for example; it contains both a simulation-type scavenger hunt and several non-realistic challenges (trivia kiosks) all in one.

So at the end of the day, words and definitions cannot fully define serious games, simulations and gamification.  The true definitions will always lie in the eyes of the creator, and how far they are willing to push technology in order to expand into new genres.

For more information on gamification, contact us today!