EghtesadOnline: The second round of Iran’s Serious Games Prize (SeGaP 2018) festival organized by Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation ended in Tehran on Friday.
It included a hackathon or a design sprint-like event, and a conference where trends, technology and applications of digital games were discussed.
A serious game, or applied game, is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally used to refer to video games used for educational purposes. Such games try to convey messages related to scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, and city planning.
According to the foundation’s website (ircg.ir), the festival endeavored to promote the application of serious games in Iran. At the conference researchers and experts discussed the application of games for educational needs and presented their latest findings, Financial Tribune reported.
Organizers aimed to help young developers create new teams and provide them insight into the rapidly expanding gaming industry.
A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others collaborate on software projects.
During the hackathon, the foundation brought together people for planning, designing, and creating game demos within a short time. In this case, 48 hours. The hackathon was held Nov. 22-23, and the winners were announced on Nov. 30.
In addition to the Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation, other private and public institutions contributed to the event, including the government-backed Innovation and Prosperity Fund, the National Institute for Medical Research Development (NIMAD), Digital Games Research Center (DIREC), and AvaGames a startup accelerator which helps game developers commercialize their ideas and products.
Training for Developers
During the hackathon, mentors helped participants develop a demo version of a video game which can help address healthcare or social issues. All the participants will be provided with further assistance, including loans and training courses.
Experts with NIMAD, a state organization affiliated to the Health Ministry, assisted participants to develop healthcare-related games.
Furthermore, NIMAD and the game foundation will help developers forge teams, create startups, get enrolled in startup acceleration programs and seek investors.
Among topics introduced by NIMAD for developers to work on during the hackathon, two were “moderate medicine use and self-prescription”, and “understanding autism spectrum disorder and how to interact with people suffering from autism”.
As part of the SeGaP 2018 program, AvaGames and the foundation had joint plans to provide attending developers training and investment assistance.
Nasir Soft from Tehran’s Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology won the SeGaP 2018 award and a 200 million rials ($1,700) prize for the driving simulation game Nasir Driving.
Rata Games was the champion with the game Sanjab (squirrel in Persian) taking home a 100 million rials ($850) award.
Powerful Brain team came in second for the game Powerful Mind and received a 30 million rials ($250) prize.
NIMAD selected the CarLab team from Tabriz Islamic Art University for the game Kashkak (kneecap in Persian) and awarded it 50 million rials ($420).
As the youngest participants, a student team from Tehran’s Kherad School was awarded a 20-million-rial ($170) prize.
There are 28 million gamers in Iran, annually generating about 9.2 trillion rials ($78 million) for the local gaming market. According to a report by DIREC, the number of Iranian gamers has seen a staggering 21% jump reaching 28 million by March compared to 23 million in March 2016.
Over the past fiscal that ended in March, Iranians spent $125 million on gaming devices and $94 million on the games.
Mobile games have the largest share of the revenue with $54.64 million followed by console games $22.97 million and computer games $16.45 million.
Earnings from games developed locally stand at $13.26 million. Local games account for 6% of the total gaming market revenue. The figure stood at 5% in March 2016.
Of the $94 million software market revenue, the local games market share stands at 14%. It merits mention that by the end of March 2015 domestic games had an 11% share of the overall market.