The Current Dilemma of Educational Games
The current state of the gaming market place is a sad state of affairs when it comes to the realm of educational kids games. Don’t believe me, then take this challenge. Visit your local Walmart, Radio Shack, EB Games or Toys R Us and try and see if you can even find any educational games for starters.
If you do somehow even manage to find them, they most likely be on the bottom shelf, pushed off to the side or to the back or in some kind of bargin bin. Ever wonder why this is the case? It’s easy, products that are popular and sell, get prime placement.
So why aren’t these games popular with the kids and managing to find there way to the checkout. Well for the most part, this is an easy one too. Most educational games take everything that’s fun and interesting about games to kids and fail to utilize it or use it in a way that quite frankly just isn’t any fun.
There are some out there that believe learning and fun are mutually exclusive, but I simply don’t believe this to be the case. Compared to the games put out by EA and other big gamming companies, the educational market is quite small. In this small market place, there aren’t actually very many companies who produce educational games or are even brave enough to create worthwile content for kids anymore. Why you ask? Because the market is small. Why? Because kids don’t want to buy and play educational games. Why? Because most of the educational games that exist bore them to tears. It’s a vicious cycle.
I am dismayed sometimes when I think of all the resources, time and talent that goes into big ticket games aimed at kids that have absolutely no educational or moral fibre to it. Don’t get me wrong I applaud the success these companies have been able to achieve in these markets, but I wonder sometimes what could happen if they decided to use these powers to make something worthwhile.
The good news is, they won’t. The big game companies have no interest in the educational market, nothing personal, it’s just too small for them to really care. So why do kids play games with increasing violence and morally questionable content? We’ll there is really no alternative for them now, is there.
Recognizing the problem is half the battle. What can we offer up for a solution? We’ll since the current approach to educational games is clearly not working, we need to take a new approach. We need individuals and companies brave enougth to enter into this market space and raise the bar. We need to find ways to make learning fun. We need to provide kids with a viable alternative.