Serious Play Conference 2014

This year, Serious Games Association executive director Sue Boyle moved the Serious Play conference from misty Seattle to sunny L.A., where it was hosted by the USC Interactive Media & Games Division.

WP_20140723_006If you missed the conference, serious game (and serious sim) topics ranged from collaboration, behavior modification, and measurement to virtual world frameworks, markets, and gamification (see June 2014 post, “Sims & Edugames & Gamification–What’s in a Name?”)

Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer at Google, gave an excellent keynote, including a discussion of the game-changing possibilities of new hardware. (No, he was not wearing those glasses). He reminded us that although when we think “mobile” we might think of smartphones (after all in 2013, smartphone sales did surpass feature phone sales worldwide), but that much of the world is still using feature phones—a market not to be dismissed.

Along the same lines, in addition to doing your homework and knowing mobile penetration rates in each country you consider your potential market, it’s also important to know bandwidth percentages. For instance 80% of China Mobile is still on 2G, although they have an aggressive program to roll out 4G.

Probably because we at Ambient Insight are very strong on definitions, I enjoyed the quote that Justin Leites (VP for Games at Amplify) gave of Canadian philosopher Bernard Suits’ definition of a game from The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia: “Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” Justin also noted that Mark Twain designed educational games (and that he wasn’t very good at it… personally, I’m glad he kept his day job). 

WP_20140722_018Erin Hoffman, Game Design Lead at Glass Lab / Institute of Play, told a great story on (surmounting) the development team challenges and lessons learned from creating Argubot Academy, a middle school edugame designed to teach kids how to build and validate (or change) an argument. GlassLab is following a pattern we’ve seen lately, instead of only developing games, of expanding to become a platform for other partners to use.

I was pleased to participate again this year, presenting forecasts, investment patterns, catalysts, and trends on both the 2013-2018 Worldwide Market for Sims and Edugames (which our chief research officer Sam Adkins has delivered in the past) and the 2013-2018 Mobile Edugame market. Worldwide, the Game-based Learning market growth rate is 6.7% and will reach $2.4 billion by 2018 with Asia still as the strongest buying region by far. CWWgame-basedMarket

In my mobile session I reported that 5-year CAGR growth in North America for mobile edugames is at 12.5% , and from 2013-2018, revenues will nearly double. kidSAFE__PlusI also raised the warning flag again about the need to keep informed about the various government entities (e.g. FTC + COPPA in the US) that are focusing on regulations, guidelines, and legal action about protecting online privacy for children, and that includes mobile apps.

We routinely post conference presentations (and white papers, our Research Taxonomy document, and executive summaries of our reports in Ambient Insight’s Resource Library and they’re always free to download. (See the Event Presentations section for slides.) If you’re seriously interested in serious games, you might want to also download the summary for the 2013-2018 North America Mobile Edugame Market report we published in January 2014. (See White Papers, Summaries, and Executive Overviews.)

The conference drew participants and speakers from as far away as India and Scotland.  WP_20140722_005It also attracted the attention of the NTD Global TV Network, the “No. 1 Chinese Media Group.” (They also interviewed Sue Boyle and me — about 7 minutes in, if you’re curious and have time on your hands.)

That’s all for now,

Tyson

 

 

 

Digital English Language Learning – China Report Released

JadeBuddha-CityScenes-RailwayMuseum 2013-06-26 077In 2013, thanks in part to government-run schools, China moved to the top position as generating the highest revenues ($323.1 million) for digital English Language Learning products and services, not only in the Asia region but across the planet. Private language learning schools and consumers did their bit also. With a 26% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), digital English Language Learning products revenues will reach an astonishing $931.8 million in 2018.

The Chinese government has boosted digital English language learning in two ways. First, by their plans to deploy massive number—over 10 million—of educational tablets and second, by establishing compulsory requirements for students to learn English in an effort to promote internationalism and be competitive in a global market place. In higher education institutions, English is compulsory and students must pass an English proficiency test twice a year. Exams foster a market for test prep, and English language learning is no exception.

There is a thriving market for online courses for specialized forms of English: business, tourism, hospitality, and aviation. Again, for China to compete in the global marketplace, these skills are important. After presenting at a conference in Shanghai last year, I can attest to the prevalence of business, tourism, and hospitality English. (And since landing and taking off safely, I assume aviation English as well).

Digital Eng_China1Digital Eng_China2International sporting events such as the Beijing Olympics and the World Cup games to be held in Brazil this year often cause a spike in English language learning.

Sam Adkins, Ambient Insight’s Chief Research Officer, reports in his deep dive into this market in China, 2013-2018 China Market for English Language Learning that “All roads lead to mobile.” True, it’s just one of the five product types for which Sam has provided revenue and growth forecasts in this report, but Mobile Learning is strong in China.

In 2013, over 350 million smart phones were sold in China and in 2014 the number sold is anticipated to climb to 400 million. In January 2014, the iPhone was offered for sale in China by China Mobile, the nation’s largest telecom, which is continuing to build out their 4G network—and this was good news for iOS content providers. Android devices, supplied by vendors such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, and ZTE that sell low-cost phones (where the country’s smartphone growth is) have the dominant share.

Telecoms are sitting in the cat bird seat in China. Not only do they have vast subscriber bases to market their Mobile Learning VAS products, but they, as other carriers do, have the advantage of direct billing.

For more on the China market, download the free Abstract for the “2013-2018 China Digital English Language Learning Market” report from Ambient Insight’s Resource Library.

North America Edugame Market Report Released

If you’re a Mobile Learning supplier, you can thank parents in North America for doing their part in boosting the market for mobile Game-based Learning products and services.

LittleBoyWithTabletGrowth of the North America mobile edugame market—12.5% compound annual growth (CAGR)—is strongest at two ends of the age spectrum: young children (math and language learning) and elders (brain trainers and brain fitness).

However, the brain trainer market is no longer exclusively the province of elders. Savvy suppliers are producing products for youngsters as well; parents see the value in getting a competitive head start (or help staying on track with concentration training).

Lumosity is reaching out to EVERYONE via their massive media marketing campaign that includes paid search, print, and radio. (National Public Radio does seem a logical fit as a “sponsor” venue.)

One of the interesting trends I’ve been watching in the Game-based Learning market is the increasing use of data–data to drive decisions for developers and platform providers and data shared with parents to offer them increased engagement opportunities with their youngsters who are playing edugames.

Periple au coeur de la colonie

“Journey into the Colonies” by Arcane Technologies

 

The key word in edugames is: engagement. Schools purchase edugames (packaged content) to increase student engagement.

MurderAtTheMet

“Murder At the Met” by Green Door

 

 

 

Nonprofits and all levels of government purchase content services or create their own edugames to attract and engage visitors to their museums, parks, and other cultural or heritage destinations. Location-based Learning games continue to rise, however augmented reality games have not enjoyed the same success.

For more info on buyers and the catalysts and inhibitors for this thriving market, download the free Executive Overview of the 2013-2018 North America Mobile Edugame Market, which you can find on Ambient Insight’s Game-based Learning Research page. The 76-page report goes into detail about trends and buying behaviors, and identifies the total addressable market for six distinct types of mobile edugames product types.

 

 

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“All Roads Lead to Mobile”

Ambient-InsightFor years, we at Ambient Insight have been saying “All roads lead to Mobile.” And for the fifth year in a row, Ambient Insight’s Chief Research Officer Sam Adkins, the author of our Mobile Learning market reports, has revised his worldwide Mobile Learning forecasts upwards—significantly upwards.

The money is there–$5.3 billion in 2012, doubling to $12.2 billion by 2017. The numbers in the 2012-2017 Worldwide Mobile Learning Market report we just released (a compilation of 7 regional reports) reflect the galloping speed with which buyers around the world are embracing Mobile Learning.  What’s interesting also is which countries in terms of revenue, took the top five slots in 2012 and which will be in the top five positions by 2017.

MobileLearning_horseRaceIn 2012, the top five buying countries were US, Japan, South Korea, China, and India. The revenue picture changes by 2017: China leaps ahead from 4th place to the top spot, the US drops back to 2nd, India moves up from 5th to 4th, and Indonesia and Brazil join the top five in 3rd and 5th place respectively.

It’s not really a horse race, of course, but it is a very dynamic and robust market.

MobileLearning_Top20Worldwide5YrGrowth_countryThe growth rates are impressive, too, as are the patterns that Sam reports. The worldwide five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 18.2% Of the 93 countries (analyzed in this report) from the seven worldwide regions, 22 countries have growth rates in excess of 40%.

Further, of the top 20 countries with the highest growth rates, 6 are in Asia, 6 in the Middle East, and 5 in Africa.

The pattern is clear, as Sam puts it, “Mobile Learning is now being embraced as an essential strategy to improve education in these dynamic economies.” We saw confirmation of this first hand in November at the Connected Living Summit in Dubai, which included a focus on mEducation for Skills Development and Employability in the MENA region.

What’s Driving This Mobile Learning Market?

Catalysts vary from region to region, and country to country–and each regional report delves into those–but five catalysts are continually: strong consumer demand, new direct carrier billing agreements, large-scale tablet adoption, personal learning devices, and the explosion of Mobile Learning value added services (VAS).MobileLearning_WorldwideCatalysts

The free Executive Summary of the 2012-2017 Worldwide Market for Mobile Learning  premium report goes into detail on these catalysts, and you can download that document and the seven regional Abstracts from Ambient Insight’s Market Research page on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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