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Impact With Games: A Fragmented Field

This draft version of “Impact with Games: A Fragmented Field” reveals the fragmentation of the social impact games field in five claims. We’re seeking feedback on this report and invite you to help identify promising solutions and other ideas on what should be added.

Download the full report here, and read more at gameimpact.net.

  1. Impact is defined too narrowly: When impact is defined too narrowly, some games are dismissed for the wrong reasons and their impact is overlooked.
  2. Key terms are politicized: When stakeholders use core terms (like “game” and “assessment”) polemically, productive debate often breaks down as the community becomes polarized.
  3. Evaluation methods are inflexible: When researchers have just one gold standard for evaluating games, honest inquiry into complex games is undermined and design becomes more siloed and rigid.
  4. Applicants are confused by calls for funding and awards: When organizations advertise a call for proposals, new applicants are often confused about the categories and debate is harmed by a premature (and unintended) sense of consensus.
  5. Typologies are deep but not connected: When experts summarize the field they must draw boundaries, but consumers of research need ways to connect various frameworks, literature reviews and typologies.