Economic Mission -Key theme 6: Serious Gaming

Serious Gaming: France and the Netherlands. The Economic Mission during the State Visit of Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima focuses on 8 important- and innovative sectors. Within these sectors we see opportunities to reinforce the French-Dutch collaboration. During our countdown to the Economic Mission, we will briefly discuss the 8 key sectors and the relevance of these sectors for both the Netherlands and France. This week we’ll take a closer look at “Serious Gaming”.

The game industry is growing. Not only are entertainment games becoming more and more popular, the use of serious games, games that aim to inform, educate or train end-users, is also growing impressively. Applied gaming is an important pillar in the Dutch gaming industry: almost half of Dutch game companies are involved in the development of serious games.

One of the main sectors of applied games in the Netherlands is healthcare, which is also the case in France. Since healthcare expenses are on the rise, governments and hospitals are looking for new and innovative solutions to decrease their health expenses. Serious gaming is an example of a creative solution that might complement and/or replace existing ways of treatments or education in this sector. For instance, the French Gaming company Genious Healthcare, together with the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière of the  Pitié-Salpétrière hospital in Paris, developed  a game that helps Alzheimer patients to train their cognitive and motorial capacities and to recover. Also, Dutch employees of the emergency department can train with a serious game called abcdesim. Given the growing interest for serious games and healthcare in both France and the Netherlands, the Dutch Embassy in Paris has organized a seminar about Games and Health in June 2015. 80 French and Dutch game developers, medical professionals and government representatives discussed about the developments in their county, pitched their projects in order to find a bilateral partner and visited several game companies. A Eurostars call was opened for this event and several French-Dutch collaborations applied for the Eurostars program and applications are now being revised.

Even though applied games are seen as a market with immense potential, the Dutch Game Garden also pointed out some specific challenges that the European Serious Gaming Industry faces. One of the challenges is how gaming companies can develop from serious games that are completely tailor-made products towards games that are both scalable and answer the specific needs of the client. During the Economic Mission, Dutch and French developers, researchers and corporates will meet to discuss the challenges that the applied game industry faces and develop an agenda for strategic actions.