Five big impact gaming trends to keep an eye on in 2024 




By Glenn Gillis

Wouldn’t it be incredible if 2024 is the year that we use technology to create better businesses, better communities, and better people?

Games have been around for centuries and with the advancement of technology, games and game design have developed to a point where they are so integrated into our daily lives that they can actively help us navigate and make sense of our complicated and messy world. We already know that gaming is not just for kids, with over 3.6 billion people gaming on a regular basis globally.

Purposefully designed impact games specifically thrive at driving real shifts in behaviour change at scale more than any other type of technology or media. By using the world’s favourite entertainment medium as a channel to engage people, games can solve problems, bring people together and inspire meaningful action. But where will the focus for impact games be in 2024?

Combatting disinformation and misinformation 

While misinformation and disinformation have always been challenges for the world at large, their impact has become even more significant in a digital-first world. In fact, a Pew research report found that people in developed countries view online misinformation and disinformation as one of the biggest threats facing the world. Survey participants listed it as the second biggest threat facing the world today, behind climate change and ahead of cyberattacks, the state of the global economy, and infectious diseases.

If we are to have any hope of winning this disinformation war, we need to teach people how to think more critically about the world around them, the information that they’re seeing, and how to use that information. Games can do exactly that. They can teach critical thinking, mental resilience, and tolerance. And games can do this in a way that is cost-effective and drives data into effective decision-making.

Focusing on the future 

Humans are, by and large, bad at thinking about the future. Even experts struggle to accurately predict developments within their own fields. A 2018 study, for instance, found that economists in both the public and private sectors failed to predict the vast majority of recessions in 63 countries between 1992 and 2014. But if we’re able to train ourselves to act in a more future-oriented way, then we can go some way to mitigate this weakness.

Games, with their focus on action and consequence, do this better than any other media. They therefore have a significant role to play in encouraging people to take a more future-oriented approach to everything, from broad societal issues such as climate change and the environment to more individual ones such as financial planning.

Fostering entrepreneurship 

When it comes to meeting present and future challenges head-on, it’ll also be critical  to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. Great entrepreneurs, after all, look at big problems and identify innovative solutions to them.

Unfortunately, the skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur can’t be learned from reading a book. Games, on the other hand, can teach people – young and old – about entrepreneurial skills in an engaging and meaningful way like nothing else can. As such, they should be employed at every juncture of the entrepreneurial journey, from schools and universities to incubators and accelerators.

Encouraging compliance and regulation 

Entrepreneurship isn’t the only business arena where games can have a significant impact either. They can also help with critical but complex issues such as compliance and regulation. As the world becomes more and more highly regulated, compliance and risk management will only become more important than they already are.

That does not, however, mean that they’re magically going to become more exciting. That means that organisations will have to step up their efforts to at least make these requirements more engaging for their staff. How else do you make those things engaging and entertaining for people, if not by leveraging the power and principles of game design and gamification?

A tipping point? 

As all of these forces come together, perhaps the biggest impact gaming trend for 2024 is its full integration into learning and skills development environments. Thanks to this integration, games will no longer simply be bolted onto the top of school and university curricula or corporate training programmes. Instead, they’ll increasingly become integral parts of these programmes.

Beyond those settings, impact games will actually become a mainstream element in the deployment of effective education and campaigns that aim to build awareness around important issues, build stronger communities and ultimately promote positive behaviour change.

Don’t get left behind 

Given how powerful impact games can be in changing behaviours and mindsets, along with the fact that they’re set to become increasingly important in the future, organisations should look to embrace them wherever possible. Failure to do so means risking falling behind.

(Glenn Gillis, CEO, Sea Monster).

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