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Dec. 10, 2014: Computing Now

Inspired by Games

Ideas come from everything

--- Alfred Hitchcock

Technology is born of inspiration, of dreaming the impossible. But there is still an opportunity to use technology to solve societal challenges. Games have this potential. Inspired By Games is focused on showcasing new applications, innovative game design and leading-edge technology in the hope of inspiring others to break rules, cross boundaries, collaborate across the globe and explore cross-disciplinary applications of the arts, culture, science, enterprise, and education.

Our goal is to present inspiring stories that evoke change, create new paradigms, and solve problems through gameful design. We will touch on all aspects of games with a focus on forging new direction. Innovation requires us to stitch together ideas and breakthroughs, even those less traveled paths in order to create new opportunities that benefit from collective wisdom and provide lasting impact.

With this first post, let's now look at some 2014 highlights. As we move into 2015, future articles will highlight new companies and technologies, new teaching applications and community building for engagement.

2014 In Review

This week marks the 20-year anniversary of Sony PlayStation's launch in Japan. The landscape has consolidated and morphed over the years with two main players still battling it out, Sony and Microsoft, with this 8th generation of consoles now settling into their first year sales. At last count, PlayStation 4 had sold more than 10 million units. Considered the laggard of this generation, the Xbox One has recently gained momentum in November and is closing in on the 10 million unit mark as well.  

Aside from the next-generation of consoles, 2014 was a year centered around several significant trends:

Mobile Ecosystem

The growth of mobile games is beyond measure at the moment. Asia has surpassed North America as the dominant player as Chinese, Korean and Japanese companies like Tencent and Alibaba continue to build their empires. We will continue to explore trends in mobile games and
highlight innovations of both large and small mobile companies.

Independent Development

Indie development has become a predominant part of game developers. In recent research from M2 Research on the State of Game Development we found that roughly 62% of the current development market view themselves as indie developers (having less than 25 employees). Accessible tools such as Unity 3D has played a big part in the organic growth of the indie movement.

Back in September, Microsoft announced its $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang, the indie developer behind the incredibly popular Minecraft. While the indie community continues to struggle with discoverability and monetization issues, there continue to be inspiring and innovative projects and companies that we will highlight.  

Social Impact

The idea that games bridge social collaboration across non-gaming applications is growing, such as the first White House Game Jam that was held in September. Created to inspire young people to develop educational games that teach, the White House Game Jam had over 100 game developers and 35 educators and students attending the event.

VR and Peripherals

Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift in April was another indication of the nature of the industry. Virtual reality for consumers does not seem so far off as we bring 2014 to a close. In 2015 we will explore the content, adoption and implications of what accessible consumer, enterprise and educational virtual reality offers.

Entertainment and E-Sports

E-sports has grown tremendously in all regions, as the viewing of games has spawned a new category of sports. Additionally, watching games from streaming video has created new mediums of entertainment and align with Amazon's strategic purchase of Twitch for $970 million in September. Throughout the coming year we will highlight the intersection of entertainment, games and marketing and what that means to consumer trends and societal shifts.

As we start 2015, the focus of Inspired by Games will be on innovations and new ideas in the gaming industry. We will explore areas where applied game mechanics have helped change behaviors, teach skills and knowledge, and solve health and social challenges. We look forward to bringing you timely discussions about game technology and uses of games to grow inspirational communities.


Co-produced by Wanda Meloni, CEO of M2 Research and Joann Hoffman, CEO of Game on Data, Inc., Inspired by Games provides insightful stories that showcase gaming trends. We cover games and emerging uses in technology and innovation, community building, and platform issues that impact social change.

Inspired by Games explores how gameful design and game mechanics are deployed to solve technological, social, consumer and business challenges.

Joann Hoffman, PhD
Game on Data, Inc.

Joann Hoffman has been a research and evaluation consultant to nonprofits, universities, major cities, counties, and philanthropic organizations for several decades. Her education includes a PhD in organizational systems and coursework in gamification from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. She recently completed a post doctoral fellowship in Mongolia sponsored by the Institute for Social Innovation, where she used social network analysis to examine data sharing among NGOs.

Joann has been an appointed member of numerous state advisory committees for the State of California, and is the recipient of awards for her innovative and groundbreaking work in collaborative solutions. She has evaluated the impact of state and federally funded programs for the California Department of Health, California Department of Education, Department of Defense, the Department of Education, and the Department of Labor. After decades of experience assisting not-for-profit organizations navigate and adopt technology, she founded a tech start up that develops social impact technologies data problems for nonprofits, including the in-production Yum Yuk, a gamified survey and data engagement tool. Joann joins Wanda to bring the social impact perspective to the latest trends in games.

Wanda Meloni
CEO/Senior Analyst
M2 Research

Wanda Meloni is CEO of M2 Research and editor-in-chief of Gaming Business Review. She has been tracking interactive media trends and providing strategic insight and consulting to industry leaders for over 15 years. She understands the use of interactive media for community empowerment, customer engagement, content development, and emerging platforms/tech/games and graphic trends. Wanda publishes articles and insights through M2 Research and Gaming Business Review. She is a recognized industry expert and has been quoted in Fortune, Fast Company, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.

Wanda frequently speaks at trade events including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), National Association of Broadcasters-NAB, GSummit, Game Developers Conference (GDC), Mobile Gaming USA, and Casual Connect. Wanda is also a consultant for top entertainment, consumer goods and technology companies providing investment, positioning strategies and competitive analysis. Previous clients have included Sony Computer Entertainment America, Disney, Warner Bros, Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Dolby, Autodesk, Adobe, Badgeville, as well as a wide range of game developers, tool providers, investment firms and trade agencies.

Wanda holds an MBA in international business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, speaks several languages, and lives with her family in San Diego.

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