The gaming industry is making a play for the enterprise, pitching interactive games to talent managers as serious tools for skill development.
Serious Games Institute director of research, Sara de Freitas, pointed to a partnership between the institute and the Centre for Disaster Management and Texas A&M University, in an attempt to improve rescue response and disaster management processes.
According to de Freitas, technology that simulates real-life situations will provide a new set of tools for recruiters and talent managers when considering candidates.
“The constant challenge in recruitment is trying to predict who has the right skills for a particular job from a résumé or an interview," de Freitas said in a statement.
“However, with technology being used to educate people in completely new ways, employers now have the ability to create ‘immersive’ experiences, where participants interact and experience situations in a virtual world.
“These ‘experience’ or ‘scenario’ games can be used to evaluate skills during recruitment, and also in managing talent by using games as part of training and development.”
De Freitas will be in Australia in May for the Australasian Talent Conference, which will cover topics such as workplace diversity, technology trends and recruitment. She said the ‘fun’ element of games work effectively in motivating and engaging employees throughout organisations.
“Virtual games provide a scalable and sustainable approach to training, so they are an effective way to educate large or geographically-dispersed groups,” she said.
Despite being branded as ‘games’ thus not serious when it comes to hiring staff, de Freitas claims they can facilitate proper training.
“Using mission-based group work, games add a new dimension to the way talent may be evaluated in the future," she said.
"They can help identify talent early, accelerate learning, recruit the right candidate through more realistic testing and help get the best out of candidates by making them more relaxed in an interview.
“Online games, like World of Warcraft, encourage community building, and some organisations have even used these games as part of their effort to recruit individuals with leadership skills.”
According to Freitas, there are numerous commercial games on the market aimed at developing business, strategy and leadership skills.
In similar news, the Royal Australian Navy has spent $10 million upgrading its training simulator for its junior officers to learn how to pilot the next generation of warships.
The upgraded simulator uses computerised virtual reality software to simulate a working warship's bridge and includes a 240-degree view of a computer-generated, two-dimensional scene through the bridge’s windows.
As reported by Computerworld Australia last September, researchers at the Edith Cowan University in Perth turned to video game engine, Torque 3D, to model and formulate protection methods around critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid.
The university’s senior lecturer at the School of Computer and Security Science, Martin Masek, said while some tools already existed for critical infrastructure, gaming engines provided an optimal base for modelling due to their interactivity, as well as integrated support for input devices and networking.
The Australasian Talent Conference will run 24–26 May 2011.
Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW