Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Square Moves into Serious Games Biz

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the spikey-haired-math-teachers dept.

Education 38

Kotaku has the word that Square/Enix is moving into the 'serious' games market. Serious Games, as they're known, attempt to do more than just entertain. Square has never previously created games for education, and so it's quite notable that company strategist Ichiro Otobe is now slated to give the keynote at this year's GDC Serious Games Summit. From the release: "The serious games market represents a new outlet for our skills as a game developer, and it means that we will be serving totally different customers. As such, there are many different kinds of hurdles that must be cleared in order for it to offer meaningful opportunities. I plan to speak about Square Enix's approach to these challenges, and hopefully provide both business and design inspiration for everyone interested in the uses of games beyond entertainment."

cancel ×

38 comments

Other rumours (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642918)

I have to wonder why this is the news story when we have current rumours saying Square are selling off Siken Densetsu, Chrono and the Kingdom hearts franchises. Wouldn't this be a massive news story as opposed to Square failing in the educational market?

Re:Other rumours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642992)

If you could provide something newsworthy discussing this, preferably evidence of the rumor's truth, you can submit the story.

Re:Other rumours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17643916)

but of course that kind of interesting newsworthy story will be rejected by the savvy editors...

Re:Other rumours (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644564)

I have to wonder why this is the news story when we have current rumours saying Square are selling off Siken Densetsu, Chrono and the Kingdom hearts franchises.

Could it be because your post is probably the first anyone other than you has heard this "rumor"? And since when are rumors posted as news?

I'll let you in on a little secret. At any given time, there are probably 100 rumors flying around the periphery of the game industry about publishers, developers, and consoles. 99% of them are ridiculously false. Mostly, they're started by fanboys (on one side or the other) looking to garner attention. Often, they begin with posts just like yours. In fact, your post is a classic example of rumor-mongering - no source quoted, and the impression given that "we" all know about these rumors already, with the implication being that this collective knowledge itself counts as "news".

There is ZERO chance of Square-Enix ever "selling off" these franchises. When has that ever happened? Publishers don't just "sell" major franchises, especially not money-making ones.

So put it to rest and get it out of your head. It's not happening, and it's not news. And I don't know who started this rumor, but for all I know it was you.

Re:Other rumours (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644740)

Considering that part of the appeal of Kingdom Hheats is the Final Fantasy characters, I'm sure Disney wouldn't let Square go very easily.

And lest we forget, weren't both of the games uber-successful? Why stop doing something that's guaranteed to give you buckets of money?

Re:Other rumours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17644912)

Considering that Slashdot also didn't bother posting the news that Square-Enix has stopped active development on their MMORPG, and is apparently in the process of creating a new MMORPG, I get the impression that Slashdot really doesn't care about Square-Enix.

Of course, it could also be that the news that a non-WoW MMORPG is failing isn't exactly news.

Nothing new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642920)

Isn't this just the natural progression from their failed movie studio and the 'movie games' they've been making for the past few years?

One game I hope they never make (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17643036)

"Moogles and Chocobos teach sex education"

Re:One game I hope they never make (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17643544)

Why not? totally wholesome [vgcats.com] , fun for the whole family!

Re:One game I hope they never make (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17645864)

""Moogles and Chocobos teach sex education""

What are you talking about? I *LOVE* that game.

Re:One game I hope they never make (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17648866)

They did both of those in FF7, you know...

Hmm... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17643086)

So Square is coming to a full circle in game design?

Makes sense for the Japanese giant (1)

muel (132794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17643122)

If anything, this announcement should've come months ago when games like Brain Age took over the Japanese sales charts. Such "productivity" titles make perfect sense for a massive studio's diverse portfolio, as they cost less to make and tap into a broader market. Perhaps the studio's ties with Disney will come into play with educational software, for starters?

educational RPGs? :D (4, Funny)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17643246)

FFX meets... the lewis & clark expedition... just imagine the boss battle when they get to the mouth of the columbia river... :D

Re:educational RPGs? :D (4, Funny)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644004)

"Sephiroth jumps out of nowhere and stabs one of your party to death. He also breaks your wagon axle and spoils 254 pounds of food."

Re:educational RPGs? :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17659478)

From the Shin-Ryu you shot, you got 14,537 pounds of meat. However, you were only able to carry 100 pounds back to the wagon.

Re:educational RPGs? :D (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17646530)

Can you keep going right on the river, ultimately going in a circle and levelling the characters by repeating the same battles over and over?

Turbo controllers FTW.

Re:educational RPGs? :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17646802)

Can you keep going right on the river, ultimately going in a circle and levelling the characters by repeating the same battles over and over?

Yes, but that means you'll be forced to watch the 2 minute animation for Clark's Omnimusket Limit Break over and over again too.

Re:educational RPGs? :D (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17648522)

Nah, just set it up so it has each character do the action you want, tape down the A button, and turn off the TV for a few days. Just make sure Lewis heals every time it's his turn, and you're good.

I really don't think serious games is a good name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17643430)

for this type of thing.

I'm quite interested in games for education. I think games are made to educate and there's nothing wrong with exploiting this to make learning more fun for kids and adults. Games like Civilization and Colonization have done this to some extent for me when I was learning history at school. I know of one Polish guy who learnt his English with the help of Monkey Island one. Great! An exciting future. The DS already has a "brain training game" that lets you brush up on your maths as well as inmrove less defined "brain skills" and in Japan there are several language games that help you learn English, Spanish or French (and also deal with the history and sites of countries using those languages.)

So that's good, but what's not good is a growing number of people labelling such games as serious games. This is a bad bad label, if the person who created this label was here now I'd very much like to bop him (or her) on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and maybe waggle a warning finger at them. Here's the wikipedia definition of "serious games":

        Serious games (SGs) are computer and video games that are intended to not only entertain users, but have additional purposes such as education and training. They can be similar to educational games, but are primarily focused on an audience outside of primary or secondary education.

Pah! Psst! Pah!

If you call one group of items serious you are suggesting all other items are some how less serious. Let's take people, if I said "serious people" you might form the following model in your mind.

Serious People: Buisness Men, World leaders, ...
Non-serious People: Comedians, Artists, Bums, Clowns, Mimes...

So imagine if this shadowy education group had targetted music instead of computer games, they would like us to form the following mental model.

Serious Music, music that educates:
Sing 2 School - Multiplication Hip Hop
Alphabet - Music for Clever Kids ...

Non-serious music, music that fails to educate:
Classical, Rock and Roll, Pop, Jazz, Rap, Indie ...

Non-serious music, is that worthless, for kids stuff, that has nothing to redeem it - it merely entertains - it doesn't convey FACTS! Therefore it's not "serious" - it's a waste of time and you should be feeling very guilty about listening to it at all! You grubby hippie frittering your life away by enjoying yourself, I hope this chastizes you sufficently.

The same labels could be applied to books, instead of fiction and non-fiction we could relabel them serious and non-serious (or waste of time, guilty pleasure, whatever label seems to fit best.)

As I hope you can see this way of naming things doesn't help anyone and is a little insulting to anyone not creating media that's not primarily educational. I'd intially distrust anyone "seriously" throwing the term around. Serious is quite subjective, let's keep that way.

This a blog post from http://einfall.blogspot.com/2006/08/irked-serious- games.html [blogspot.com]

Re:I really don't think serious games is a good na (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644304)

Games like Civilization and Colonization have done this to some extent for me when I was learning history at school.

Among other things I didn't know before:

- When the Royal Navy used to send gigantic steel warships to shell the crap out of some primitive town from several miles offshore, they had to take precautions against being sunk by the local spearmen.

- The tobacco and cotton plantations of the American colonies were worked mainly by Indian converts and by transported criminals; no slave labour was used at any time.

Re:I really don't think serious games is a good na (1)

wolfing (1007041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17645856)

I think he meant like, the Civilopedia and stuff. I did read those entries in Civ 1 and they were interesting reads. Of course, after I closed Civilopedia my Tank was killed by a spearman :)

Re:I really don't think serious games is a good na (1)

Rysith (647440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17646702)

Civ didn't teach based on what you did in the actual game. That should be obvious given that we haven't launched anything at Alpha Centauri, and nobody has yet achieved world domination. However, if you read the civilopedia, they do give you a substantial amount of information on what happened in real life. That bit of learning is even more present in Civ IV, where they give short bios of each of the leaders and things like that. All an educational game needs to do to be successful is give you enough information to make you go seek out more on your own.

So, the results will be (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644298)

Replacing 'entertain' with 'teach':

They don't teach you anything, but they look absolutely fahhhboulous while they do it!

Chocobo games (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17644976)

I get the feeling that these games will be titled along the lines of "chocobo teaches typing", "chocobo math", etc.

Re:Chocobo games (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17645172)

it's a new form of nag-ware.
'play me or your brain will rot!'
when simply reading a book, etc will do the same for allot less money.

Re:Chocobo games (2, Funny)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17645576)

I get the feeling that these games will be titled along the lines of "chocobo teaches typing", "chocobo math", etc.

So, "hunt and peck", huh?

Re:Chocobo games (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17646592)

so 2 + 2 = Wark

"Serious?" (2, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17645312)

"Serious Games, as they're known, attempt to do more than just entertain."

Back in the day, they were called "edutainment," but as I recall they all died of cholera.

Serious Games != Edutainment (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17645520)

Edutainment was typically used to characterize child education games, which is only a small subset of the 'serious games' category.

'Serious games' seems to be used to describe job training exercises, exercise games, games with political messages, and the casual puzzle games that are supposed to 'stimulate your brain'.

Do the labels really mean anything? Probably not, but if you think of edutainment as the only type of 'serious game', you'll miss a lot.

(hmm ... some would argue that politics is a game, and it's not funny, so does that qualify it as a serious game?)

Well, that's a relief... (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17648102)

'Serious games' seems to be used to describe job training exercises, exercise games, games with political messages ...

Well, that's a relief. I was worried that they might be terrible and boring, like educational games were!

Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17650160)

> but as I recall they all died of cholera.

Lucky sod. Mine all died of dysentery :-(

I took 100 hours to beat FF12... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17647660)

...and now they say it's not a serious game?

ObWTF: WTF?

Looking forward to FFFF One!! (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17648946)

Looking forward to Square's version of a Fire Fighter simulation that was showcased at the GDC Serious games summitt last year but with Final Fantasy characters. They should call it Final Fantasy Fire Fighters or FFFF for short!

Seriously? (1)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17650956)

Video games: Serious Business.

serious games != edutainment (2, Interesting)

phonics (312657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654216)

The "Serious Games" buzzword frequently refers to military training, first responder simulations, interactive political simulations, etc. They are typically not designed to be even remotely entertaining. The phrase is relatively new and should be more like "interactive simulation".

The "Edutainment" buzzword typically refers to K-12 educational games, and simple simulations. It's a pretty old phrase and pretty well understood.

Because Square has no actual *product* it's tough to tell where they lie.

Re:serious games != edutainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17654948)

Wait, they're LYING about making these games? Won't that increase their evil points, pushing to the dark side?

In other words: Squarenix goes to DS (1)

Soiden (1029534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658318)

I mean, DS is the preference when we talk about education/learning games. And it's for a [good] reason. I think the Chocobo and the Magic Book [Or something like that] game goes that way.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...