Posted by: crudbasher | October 27, 2011

The Path To Educational Video Games

There is more and more evidence that students can learn from video games. It also seems that teachers are becoming more open about the idea. Still, there aren’t very many educational video games so will it ever become mainstream? I think the answer is yes and here’s how.

(cc) Nick Chill Photography

30 years ago there were very few video games because there were very few video game systems. You had to go to an arcade to find them. Because creating a game involves money, you have to have an expectation of selling enough of them to make back your investment right? Many game companies have gone out of business because of failing to do this. Educational software has been a much much smaller market so there hasn’t been many games made compared to entertainment games. It actually is much easier to develop games now than it ever has been. There are even kids in high school producing their own games.

The number of games made is a function of this formula.

Number of Games = # of potential customers * Price

The biggest market for video games today is actually cell phones. You can sell 100,000 copies of a game on an XBox for $50 a copy or you can sell 1,000,000 copies on a cell phone for $1 a copy. You make it up in volume. So what will grow the cell phone market? The developing world.

A village in Africa isn’t likely to have an XBox but they might have cell phones. Once you couple this with ubiquitous language translation you will have a worldwide market for games and apps. The world population just recently passed 7 billion. That’s a huge amount of people who will need an education. It’s much more likely to setup a cell network, give out cell phones (solar charged), maybe also some $30 laptops and poof, you have a learning system. It’s a lot more scalable than building physical schools. Keep in mind that with the Internet you can even have a teacher remotely help the students out.

So to sum up, cheap smart phones, plus a vast market that language translation software open up and you get a worldwide market for educational games.


    • Readers of this blog know that students are learning all the time, whether or not they’re in school. Indeed, the vast majority of learning happens outside of school — in homes, playgrounds, workplaces and so on. Play has a fundamental role in this learning, as great minds in education from Plato to Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky have recognized over the years.
    • In my work with Microsoft Studios, we acknowledge the power of play and its intellectually enriching value with what we call “playful learning,” our approach to designing high quality, intellectually enriching, interactive experiences for children and their families using Kinect for Xbox 360.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. All video games are educational in a sense that they give the user experience in having a mailable interface into an organized system and opportunities to expand their creative problem solving capabilities.

    • I’ve always thought that games were a natural way to embed learning. They provide a good mix of incentive, reward and challenges. Thanks for commenting!!

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