|Session Name:||You Can (Not) Be Serious!|
|Company Name(s):||Linden Lab|
|Track / Format:||SGS: Assessment & Results|
Most major commercialized companies operating in and around the games industry are no doubt asking how they fit or don't fit into the burgeoning serious games field. In some cases, they may be wondering if any foray into the space is at all a serious pursuit. At the same time, many are finding that the even if they don't explicitly embrace the area, the broad public investigation into serious games is bringing it to their doorstep regardless. Whether it would be the use of a game in a classroom, a mod of a title for serious purposes, or researchers applying games for previously unimagined means, it is getting harder to escape the impact of serious games. But what if instead of standing idly, major companies began embracing the idea of serious games or even just the general notion of community created applications? Linden Lab's SECOND LIFE, an online world and platform for development, is doing just that and is finding out that "you can be serious and in-fact you might not have a choice."
In this keynote address, Philip draws upon specific examples and showcases approaches his company has embraced for serious game applications within SECOND LIFE. He also discusses how collaboration is the secret weapon of serious gaming, and how content creation and interaction in well-designed virtual places not only simplifies the development process but it is also intrinsically more enjoyable to many people.
The serious games space at its most fundamental level is about bringing the power of games, plus game-like technologies and environments to a range of issues. The synthetic worlds space sits squarely in those crosshairs. They are gamelike but not always games. They are fundamentally much more malleable, encourage personal communication and self-expression to a greater degree than many other systems. Synthetic worlds serve as a sort of time machine for testing changes to the real world, can simulate very complex social interactions, and can prototype many things in the real-world at much lower cost.