Sunday, August 06, 2006

Game Adoption Pattern

At the center of the Game Impact Theory (see previous blog posting) is the adoption pattern of the technologies. The adoption of game technologies in many industries may follow a pattern that is similar to that experienced by the military. It will begin in a niche area that is closely aligned with at least one powerful game technology. If successful there, it will be adopted for applications and activities that are not regulated. These are spaces where local groups define their own processes and measures of success. From this position, support will grow for the technology in a number of organizations and geographic areas. This will lead to some form of certified status of game technologies as an acceptable solution to specific problems. Success at this level will lead to it becoming a recommended practice in which the recognized regulating bodies will include it among the proven and preferred approaches to solving a problem. Finally, game technology may become a mandatory standard method of solving problems across the industry.

The visual, auditory, and mental stimulation that come with games are often strong motivators for adopting and promoting the technology. Along with the flexibility that is built into the tools by core developers, these come together to create a very energetic lead-user community that contributes advances to the technology. von Hippel described this enthusiasm in the open source software development community in Democratizing Innovation, and these forces appear to be even stronger in the game communities.

Game Impact Theory: The Five Forces That are Driving the Adoption of Game Technologies within Multiple Established Industries

The computer gaming industry has begun to export powerful products and technologies from its initial entertainment roots to a number of “serious” industries. Games are being adopted for defense, medicine, architecture, education, city planning, and government applications. Each of these industries is already served by an established family of companies that typically do not use games or the technologies that support them. The rapid growth in the power of game technologies and the growing social acceptance of these technologies has created an environment in which these are displacing other industry-specific computer hardware and software suites.

This paper puts forward a game impact theory that identifies five specific forces that compel industries to adopt game technologies for their core products and services. These five forces are computer hardware costs, game software power, social acceptance, other industry successes, and native industry experimentation. Together these influence the degree and rapidity at which game technologies are adopted in a number of industries. This theory is meant to be useful to managers who must make decisions about adopting, investigating, or ignoring these new technologies.

Complete Paper: Game Impact Theory