Social Gaming Trend Report 2012 by Newzoo


An interesting outlook from my friends at Newzoo on social gaming or casual gaming as it was called since the social media hype exploded into our faces… 😉 Check it out and let me know if you have any questions through Twitter. Newzoo Trend Report: Casual Social Games – February 2012

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Re-mission Revisited: Fighting Cancer

>By Morton Geertsen 

Reading a book can be like following a path of unique field knowledge and insights. I remember discovering the strange fields of math, or learning about the rules of creation in 3d programs. However, although a book interacts with you in terms of its ideas, which challenges you, you remain a relatively passive participant. This affects the learning process, which are at the risk of being weakened, as the participant quickly and easily can lose motivation. After all, the initial motivation that makes a person open a book, watch a TV program or listen to the radio, might change: Leaving the participant with no reasons for continuing the learning process.
A Brand New Playground gives life to the idea that the best games succeed in creating a highly beneficial learning curve by making the participant engage in the process – and thus “wake up”! A Brand New Playground proposes: “Where watching a movie is a relaxing activity where you can lean back or even slump on the couch, you are a passive participant; a game generally requires active consumer participation and generates a high level of involvement – stronger yet: the person playing the game even dictates the course and outcome of the game!”
The above quote meets further scientific backup, stating that indeed game offers a unique way of learning, which potential is hidden in its ability to involve players: “Active involvement in video game play sparks positive motivation in a way that watching and hearing information does not,” says Steve Cole, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development at HopeLab, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-author of the article. He continues: “All participants in the study received the same information. It was the active participation in gameplay that made the big difference in motivation. This study helps refine our ‘recipe for success’ in harnessing the power of play in the service of health.”
This statement is part of a study, investigating the effect of a new serious game called Re-Mission, targeted young cancer patients. In Re-Mission players pilot a nanobot named Roxxi as she travels through the bodies of fictional cancer patients destroying cancer cells, battling bacterial infections, and managing side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment.
As the most essential finding, this study shows how reward-related activation is associated with a shift in attitudes and emotions that has helped boost players’ adherence to prescribed chemotherapy and antibiotic treatments in a previous study. Check out the video below to get a first-hand impression and initial opinion on how well the concept has been carried out.

The study compared brain scans in 57 people who were randomly assigned to actively play Re-Mission or to passively watch the same recorded game play (similar to watching a movie, with the exact same information, but no direct participation in the game play events). Results of functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) showed that neural circuits implicated in reward activated strongly while players were actively playing Re-Mission, but not when they were resting, or when other players passively observed the same game play events.
The article on, despite its slightly exaggerated nature, gives some relevant insights: This and other recent studies could prove a change in how both game developers and health care professionals think of games as a learning tool. As a growing body of research data shows that digital games can positively alter the players’ attitude and behavior, the interest and realized potential of “serious games” and “games for health” is gradually increasing. Although the main idea has existed for a long time – the idea that games’ ability to involve players improves motivation and thus learning – the added scientific value of such studies should not be underestimated, when health care institutions and governments consider games as a way of reaching their goals.

In A Brand New Playground there is a reference to the work of Gordon Calleja analyzing the aspects of involvement. These aspects are affective involvement, spatial involvement, narrative involvement, tactical involvement, performative involvement and shared Involvement. Looking at the game through the lenses of these various terms, can help us understand the effect of Re-Mission.
Spatial and tactical involvement is particularly important, because the rules that required you to win and the tactical understanding of the game, is inevitably related to the way the treatment of the patients/players works. Furthermore the similarity between the game story and the real-life situation of patients/players, makes narrative involvement especially strong, as participants can identify with the feelings of fighting cancer. It is not an option to interact with other players/patients in-game – however shared involvement can be expected to happen outside of the frames of the game, as patients most likely will discuss the game with other friends, who are in a similar situation as themselves.
Re-Mission was developed by non-profit organization HopeLab, specialized in the improving the health of young people through new technology. The game has distributed more than 185,000 free copies of Re-Mission in 81 countries worldwide since its release in April 2006.

SmartGate – The Game E-Learning Award Nomination


Cool! We have been nominated for an e-learning award for the games IJsfontein developed for Air Cargo Netherlands, Dutch Customs and Schiphol airport. The games where developed to get ‘smart-working and e-freight’ across within the Airfreight sector around Schiphol Airport.

We already won an award in the United States in 2011, but now apparently we have been nominated for an e-learning award in our homeland – which is great as well of course!

Check the game trailer of the first game below and the presentation underneath! We can finally share some results in terms of gameplay, high score development, amount of plays (3 on average per visitor) and some other stuff. Go check it out and let me know what you think @BartHufen on Twitter!

Bart Hufen in the Top 20 Global Gamification Guru’s!!!

>It’s fun to Google your name from time to time, especially when you have a rather unique name like ‘Hufen’… since there’s just one ‘Bart Hufen’ (up to now) – you tend to get a fair idea of how you mutualized your ‘online privacy’ in the past ten years.

I googled my name yesterday and 181.000 hits came up. Of course they’re not just exclusively about me, but I estimate 90% of all hits are.

I killed some time reading through the results and found out I am in a ‘Top 20 -list’ of ‘Global Gamification Guru’s’ ! Of course I was honored, because it’s fuel for my ego! 😉 I’m currently holding position 12 (coming from place 50) and I will make it my goal to hold the first position any week soon in the upcoming year!

You can help me by Twittering and Sharing all my upcoming articles! 😉

Thanks so much!!!

PlayStation to become biggest global TV network

>After the news end of last year about YouTube dedicated HD TV-channels and Google TV, PlayStation announces that it will rename it’s current ‘PlayStation Network’ to SEN: Sony Entertainment Network. I saw an incredibly cool presentation last week at the ‘iMMovator-conference’ about connected television where Sony unfolded their plans for 2012 and beyond.

As I predicted in my book ‘A Brand New Playground‘ the ‘game consoles’ develop into home entertainment systems that are connected to all the content in the world through the internet. The video below shows you how PlayStation was already providing all sorts of content in 2010. It organized consumer content (photo’s, music and video’s), but was also connected to content providers like Hulu and Mubi (arthouse movies) and loads of other stuff. It’s nice to know that currently more than 50% of all PlayStations are connected to the internet, which is about 30 million PlayStations globally…

Now in the near future PlayStation will largely copy Apple’s functionalities: the PlayStation will be the core of content that will be accessible by all Sony devices and screens in your household. The cool thing is that they decided to make it an ‘open system’ based on Android. Hooray for Sony – well done.
Now finally we can access Sony pictures, Sony music and Sony PlayStation content with all kinds of devices and a specially designed remote control with touch screen and a complete abc on the back will help you to navigate through all that content! Sony also promised to deliver full internet access instead of just limited versions of YouTube and Google.

The main difference is that with Google TV on the Sony televisions you can actually watch two layers of content at the same time: internet + television content. Technically these two cannot be integrated as of yet, but the layers are so well integrated that it will feel as ‘one’ stream of content. The ‘older’ internet television force you to choose between either ‘TV-content’ or ‘internet content’… the future televisions (connected televisions) will enable you to multitask like you never had before and make your tablet your third screen while sitting on the couch instead of your second screen… 😉

I will be visiting the release of PlayStation Vita tomorrow where we will hear more undoubtedly!

Meanwhile read some more on the Sony USA website 

Thank you reader! -> 50.000 pageviews for my blog

>Just a moment of a big THANK YOU to all my readers in the past 3 years.

I grew from 3.000 unique visitors in 2010 to 5.000 unique visitors in 2011 and hope it will continue to grow in 2012 to … I don’t know… 8.000?

Apart from the unique visitors we served 45.000 pageviews in 2011 compared to 18.661 in 2010.

Please spread the word and link your website or blog to mine so we can increase traffic for both of our websites!

Your own private shopper in your bedroom: thanks to Kinect

> Another way to use Kinect technology… for shopping. Although it surprises me that they don’t use the camera to show you how the outfit actually fits to your body!? That would be the ultimate ‘fitting-experience’… but there is always room for improvement I guess… 😉

An Animation about Motivation

>Nice work….

Coca Cola Content 2020 Part One


What the world will look like ‘sharing happiness’ in 2020…
To be honest I still find it strange that Fanta didn’t claim ‘Fanta-Size’ or ‘Fantastic’ yet… and during Christmas ‘Fanta-Clause’ … but maybe they will after reading this… I really hope that some day they call me, I really have some great digital ‘global-game’ ideas for the Fanta brand… or does anyone know the Global brand director at the Coca-Cola Company? Let me know! Meanwhile – enjoy this visionary video….

FBI exploits the potential of gaming

>By Morton Geertsen.

Last week, GameSpot posted this article called How Video Games Are Improving the FBI. It’s a well-written pierce of information, providing readers with an entertaining and insightful example of how serious games can play a central role in passing on skills and “close to real life” experiences to the staff of the organization. In this case it is The Federal Bureau of Investment – or shorter: FBI – whose game trainer Randy Pargman reveals how though in-game training agents come to understand tactical arrest planning and crime scene investigation. Maybe this example looks more like a simulation than an actual game, but still it’s very cool that the FBI sees the potential of using serious games and game-mechanics on Xbox to educate their trainees! 

Like out of a Matrix film, the digital world makes it possible to instantly and dynamically change the physical environments, taking the recruits from one city to another. Also the game makes it able to present to the recruits a far more interesting tactical environment, as digital worlds are more easily and cheaply builds than real worlds. For that reason, FBI often hears people tell them that the environments we presented them were more interesting and challenging than anything we could ever physically build.

“I have a sneaking suspicion some of the new recruits bring their consoles with them when they enroll in the academy,” Pargman says in the article. “Surprisingly, quite a few of them have never touched a video game controller before, and I have to spend quite a bit of time in class teaching them how to use the thumb sticks. What we’ve started doing is giving them the chance to play around with the games after hours, and it’s no surprise that they love it.”
Pargman briefly expresses his opinion about the future challenges of serious game development: As the gaming audience has grown significantly in the past five years, so has the users’ expectations: With more knowledge and experience, users now know what to expect and are not as easily impressed, as they were in the beginning, when learning games first saw the daylight. In other word, the “astonishment” factor has been diluted a bit, making it a bigger challenge to make a product that is both educational and entertaining.
This puts far more pressure on the creativity and “outside of the box” thinking of developers – as well as on the ambitions of companies wanting to use serious games to train the crew. “These games need to be interesting, engaging, and relevant, so that people who use them will get into it, and then it’s up to the design of the game to make sure that they’re actually learning what they’re supposed to be learning,” Pargman says.
At this point, the reader will not be surprised to hear, that FBI finds the in-game training valuable. FBI is right now experiencing the real benefit to putting into practice the concepts and values taught through visual demonstrations. In fact a large number of new recruits have already expressed the wish to be introduced to the video game training part of the program at a much earlier stage in their training.