The impact of Mobile Learning Growth on Serious Games Market

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In preparation for iLearning Forum 2012 in Paris on January 31st and February 1st, I have been looking out for key trends. My last two articles were about Rapid Learning and latest learning technologies. Now I want to see what’s going on with Serious Games in eLearning, as many of our exhibitors are now providing tools and services around the development and delivery of games and simulations for teaching and learning.

 

So, I have been talking to people at the Serious Games institute in Coventry, Gaming and eLearning companies in Europe and reading the studies of different research bodies in the USA. I wanted to try and spot market trends in eLearning that are likely to impact us here in the EC and France; A key trend is the impact of mobile devices and tablets (as opposed to desktop PC’s and consoles) on the learning games market.

 

The worldwide market for eLearning products and services reached $32.1 billion in 2010. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 9.2% and revenues will grow to $49.9 billion by 2015, according to IDC. France is one of the fastest growing eLearning markets with a CAGR of 15% in 2010.

 

Of this market about USD 3 billion (10%) is worldwide spend on elearning games.It is this segment that is the most dynamic, with two distinct types of application:

 

  1. Simulation-based learning
  2. Games-based learning

 

In 2010 the US market for Simulation-based Learning reached $990.2 million. Ambient Insight forecast a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.2% and US-based revenues will reach $2.48 billion by 2015 – by this time it is expected that revenues for Simulation-based Learning will be seven times higher than Game-based Learning by 2015. The two biggest buyers are the Military and Healthcare. One of the most important factors in this growth, especially in Healthcare, is the use of mobile devices and tablets, such as the i-pad by learners.

 

According to Ambient, the US Game-based Learning market reached $231.6 million in 2010. The growth rate is 12.3% and revenues will reach $413.2 million by 2015.

 

Mobile packaged learning games are already outselling non-mobile (PC/web/console) serious games:

Non-mobile Learning games: CAGR of 0.07% to reach $82.0 million by 2015

Mobile Learning games: CAGR of 15.2% to reach $238.2 million by 2015

 

Custom content development services will have a CAGR of 21.4% to reach a US market of $92.9 million in 2015. Healthcare organizations, corporations, and government , including the Military, are the top buyers of custom development services.  Revenues for non-mobile custom development services will reach $67.8 million by 2015, compared to $25.0 million for mobile services

 

The packaged content business is a much larger segment but with slower growth, at 10.2% CAGR. However the US market size should reach $320.3 million in 2015. The bulk of this market is in education. In fact the overall eLearning market worldwide is growing strongest in education.

 

Within this education market we find a fascinating trend concerning the percentage of mobile learning content in the catalogues of off-the-shelf content providers, by target age group. The graph shows a kind of horseshoe effect. (Source: Ambient Insight 2011)

 

In 2010, in the USA, the catalogue percentage of mobile learning packages is as high as 22% for kindergarten, dips right down to as low as 2% for primary school and then climbs back up to 9% for secondary school and 19% for adult professional education, and finishes on an all-time high of 32% in the individual adult consumer segment. NB: over 90% of the mobile content developed for pre-schoolers is game-based.

 

So if you are a provider in the European market today, and we assume that Europe will follow the USA in this trend, here is a key conclusion from a revenue perspective:

 

If you area a custom content development company you should consider focus on non-mobile educational serious games for organizational buyers.

 

But if you area a game publisher selling packaged learning games, you should aim at the mobile education market for children (especially pre-school) and older individual consumers.

 

Finally regarding the economics of serious games, a note for eLearning buyers:

 

The typical spend on one hour of custom gaming content is €60 000 at the moment VS €30 000 for classic eLearning package. The entry price for a simulation using complex 3-D models is around 1 million euros.

 

If we look at the development effort costs of different custom instructional media, here is a handy guide for budgeting that will also help you determine the critical mass of learners needed to justify your eLearning investment:

 

Courseware Development Effort Per hour of learning solution delivery time:

 

– Classroom paper-based course – 15 hours development time/hour delivery time

– Basic eLearning – 30 hours development time/hour delivery time

– Multi-media eLearning and simple games– 100 hours development time/hour delivery time

– Simulations & complex games with interactive video – 800-1000 hours development time/hour delivery time.

 

I hope this data helps when you are visiting the show in Paris on the 31st of January and 1st of February 2012. You will find at least 10 exhibitors showing leading edge serious games – both custom development and off-the-shelf, and another 10 companies who offer tools for the management and development of mobile content and games. See you there!

 

 

Sally-Ann Moore – Directrice du Salon

sally.moore@ilearningforum.org

Tel: 04 50 77 31 88

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