Serious games are one of the fastest growing segments within three markets: elearning, simulations, and commercial games, which are all still growing at exponential rates. The Serious Games Initiative, a Washington based effort that works to develop and track the field of serious games, currently estimates that the market for serious games is $100M and predicts that it will grow to be a billion dollar market within the next decade.
"This is exciting news when one of the companies every gamer respects is seeing bottom line potential in the serious games field. Epic's Unreal Engine and games like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament are part of what amazes people about commercial games and drives them to want to use games for purposes beyond entertainment," explained Ben Sawyer, co-founder of the Serious Games Initiative. "Deals which bring the world of commercial games together with serious games are part of what the market is demanding. I'm always excited when more mainstream game companies delve into this market since it drives growth."
Virtual Heroes will integrate the Unreal Engine 3 into its own Advanced Learning Technology (A.L.T.) platform for simulation learning and serious games based learning. That combination will enable the company to offer even more scalable, cost effective, best-in-class products and solutions to its growing number of federal systems, healthcare and commercial clients.
"As an industry leader, we are committed to doing everything we can to advance the serious games market and to spearhead implementation of advanced learning technologies. This partnership is yet another opportunity for us to help improve the quality, realism and effectiveness of those applications," said Jerry Heneghan, Virtual Heroes founder and CEO.
"We have successfully worked with Virtual Heroes since 2004 with regard to the America's Army Game Project (www.americasarmy.com). VHI has the opportunity to become the market leader in the development of advanced learning technology solutions. We understand the tremendous market opportunity offered by this new genre of serious games and are excited about how VHI can accelerate growth in this market segment using Unreal Engine 3," stated Mark Rein, Vice President, Epic Games.
Virtual Heroes will use Unreal Engine 3 in the development of its Dynamic Virtual Human Technology (DVHT), a key component of the HumanSim product portfolio it is developing for medical education and training. The Unreal Engine 3 multi-threaded rendering system, and 64-bit color High Dynamic Range rendering pipeline will facilitate the creation of the most photorealistic virtual humans seen in a simulation to date. It will also enable Virtual Heroes to create training and education products for several next-generation platforms including game consoles and PCs.