New game could help us make better decisions

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today welcomed the development of a prototype computer game that could help improve decision making skills in all aspects of our daily lives.

Dr. Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, stated:

“This research highlights the diversity and quality of computer games which the industry produces. There are now 20 per cent of developers in the UK making serious games. These developers, that make an important contribution to our technological advancement, would be among those that could benefit if the Government reconsidered introducing Games Tax Relief.”

Notes to Editor:

1)   The prototype computer game was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council who issued the following press release:

How computer games could help us all make better decisions in life– Engineering and Physical Research Council

A prototype computer game has been developed to help improve decision making skills in all aspects of our lives.

Supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a team at Queen's University Belfast has developed a prototype that could be built on by commercial games manufacturers and turned into an e-learning or training tool for professionals in all walks of life - and for the general public too.  Alternatively, some of its features could be incorporated into existing computer games that have a strategy element. 

The team has explored whether people can be trained to make better decisions by improving their ability to recognise and make allowances for their subjective opinions and biases, and to 'factor in' accurately their uncertainty over a decision's likely outcome.   

You're late for a train. Will you be able to catch it if you run? Or will that result in the stress of wasted effort? To maximise your chances of reaching the right decision, you'll need to take into account all information available to you (which may change minute by minute). But it also helps if, using this information, you try to make an appraisal of your chances, which will be more accurate if you take into account how you tend to interpret such information, based on previous experience. For example, maybe you know whether you tend to be over-or under-confident in similar situations.

In the same way, the prototype game (available for anyone to try out at http://quiz.worldofuncertainty.org/ ) teaches people to take their uncertainty into account and learn from experience when faced with simple choices.*

"It's the first ever online quiz designed to let people estimate how sure they are of their answers and score more highly if they don't ignore their uncertainty but realistically assess it," says Dr David Newman, who has led the project.  "Whether the choices facing us are simple or complex, a greater awareness of uncertainty and of our own biases can improve the quality of our decision-making. We believe there's real potential for people to acquire that awareness through computer games."

In the future, games of this type could be used for both educational and entertainment purposes by public and private sector decision-makers and by private individuals in order to enhance their decision-making abilities. 

Over 500 members of the general public, as well as many students from Queen's and Dundalk Institute of Technology, have already tried out the prototype. The results are currently being assessed to establish the extent to which it has taught them to make better decisions.  "The game we've developed is a research tool that's enabling us to find out much more about the thought processes and psychological mechanisms involved in decision making," says Jyldyz Tabyldy kyzy, a key member of the project team.

About TIGA:

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA was awarded‘Trade Association of the Year’ and the‘Member Recruitment Award’ at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards 2010. TIGA has also been named as a finalist in the 2010 Chartered Management Institute (CMI) National Management and Leadership Awards in the category of‘The Outstanding Organisation of the Year Award (SME)’.

TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business.  We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members.  This means that TIGA members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

For further information, please contact Eva Field, TIGA PR Manager on: 07814 039 983, or email eva@tiga.org


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