Serious games now $2 to $10 billion industry

Press release: Spend on Serious Games Growing Steadily; Now a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Research Debuted at Serious Play Conference Shows Growing Acceptance

LOS ANGELES – Aug. 23, 2012 – The serious games market is already a multi-billion dollar industry, growing at a slow, but steady pace as games and simulations designed for education and training purposes gain acceptance, according to research studies by Ambient Insight Research and Interpret, revealed today at the Serious Play Conference.

(Image courtesy Serious Play Conference 2012.)

Industry estimates range from $2 to $10 billion in revenue for the serious games space, depending on how much of the market for games, simulations and virtual worlds is included in the calculation, according to Sue Bohle, executive director of the Serious Games Association.

“We are engaged in the process of defining the industry, and that needs to be done on a global basis,” said Bohle. “Large centers of development exist in Europe, and Asia is catching up.  While we can clearly identify the major market segments, parallel work is being done under tags like gamification. So getting our arms around total spending for the creation of non-entertainment games is challenging.”

Key finds in the Ambient Insight report:

  • Mobile education games are already outselling non-mobile (PC/web/console)
  • In 2011, China was the top buying country in the world, followed by Korea, the US, and Japan.
  • By 2016, the top buying country will be China (by far), although the U.S. will displace South Korea for second place.
  • Latin America sales are growing at the highest rate at 29.1%, followed by Eastern Europe and Africa at 25.7% and 20.7%, respectively

Key finds in the Interpret study:

  • Recognition is growing that traditional education methods are under-performing
  • New research shows learning outcomes are improved by the use of games-based learning
  • Students respond positively to games as a learning tool
  • The stigma of “game” is vanishing
  • Powerful technology and tools for development exist
  • Games are being used for an ever-expanding array of training applications, in the corporate, healthcare, government/military and education markets
  • Key inhibitors holding the industry back include:
    • Awareness
    • The economy
    • Inertia/hesitance to trying new things
    • Lack of proved assessment tools

“We need more published documentation illustrating that serious games do achieve desired training or educational outcomes and evidence of cost effectiveness, particularly in comparison to other methods of training and learning,” said Bohle.

The Serious Play Conference is an annual gathering of industry leaders to examine the key challenges and future of non-entertainment games used for education and training.

About the Serious Games Association

The Serious Games Association (SGA) supports all professionals in the serious games community. Services include educational conferences, special interest groups (SIGs) and committees studying how to move the industry ahead. For more information, visit