Per Backlund
Chief Scientist of Game Education, University of Skövde and Game Science Park

Title: Design Science Research in Serious Games (Functional Games)

Abstract: The last decades there has been an increasing interest in using games for purposes beyond entertainment. This notion has been applied to several areas, examples are: military, healthcare and various areas of education. Irrespectively of what area and purpose that is addressed there are several challenges associated with applying games to address utility problems. These problems may pertain to philosophical issues, e.g. if playing a game is a voluntary activity for pleasure, what are the consequences when using them for other purposes. Problem may also occur in the understanding of applying game based solutions to solve organizational problems, e.g. what is the benefit of applying a game as a solution? This stems from the fact that there are distinctively different types of requirements that need to be addressed when developing utility systems than when developing games which, in turn, means that the composition of competences needed to develop systems in this intersection are unique.

This talk will address how the two spheres of game development and utility system development merge into the development of serious games (functional games). The talk will discuss how the multidisciplinary research team at University of Skövde in Sweden has worked with design science research in the intersection between games and utility by showing examples from the healthcare sector. The talk will demonstrate how problem relevance (i.e. the solution addresses an important and relevant organizational problem) and design evaluation are at the core of developing game‐ based solutions that actually utilize the power of games to address and solve problems.