About Serious Games

Serious games (SGs) or persuasive games are computer and video games used as persuasion technology or educational technology. They can be similar to educational games, but are often intended for an audience outside of primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Second Life's virtual Web world can be a weird, chancy place for real-life brands.

In April a helicopter crashed into a Nissan (nasdaq: NSANY - news - people ) building, starting a fire that left a couple of dead bodies. The explosion took place on Altima Island in Second Life, a Web fantasy world where users create customized, cartoonlike characters called avatars. The crash, whether an accident or an intentional prank, wasn't exactly an image-enhancing moment for a carmaker. Nissan's online reps cleaned up the virtual mess, coffins and all.

Marketers have flocked to Second Life since it went live in 2003. Coca-Cola (nyse: KO - news - people ), H&R Block (nyse: HRB - news - people ), IBM and Toyota (nyse: TM - news - people ) are among 80 companies that have set up a virtual presence there to capture eyeballs--Second Life boasts a population of 7.1 million registered users--and experiment with online branding. It's cheap: Linden Lab, the site's creator, charges $1,675 plus $295 a month to occupy an island. Visitors pay nothing.

But this leasehold doesn't fence out troublemakers. It turns out that avatars seem more interested in having sex and hatching pranks than spending time warming up to real-world brands. "There is nothing to do in Second Life except, pardon my bluntness, try to get laid," blogged David Churbuck, Web-marketing vice president for computer maker Lenovo. (Lenovo isn't represented on Second Life.)

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