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Inspired by Games
DEC 10, 2014 14:28 PM
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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.

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