Tuesday, March 03, 2009

KOM Says Play Seriously

Knowledge Oasis Muscat’s (KOM) annual eGames: Serious Play Conference was officially launched yesterday with an impressive line-up of leading international experts and developers of serious games.

Supported by the Information Technology Authority (ITA); Nawras; the Middle East College for Information Technology; and Oman Economic Review the conference is scheduled to be held 30 March at the Shagri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa.

David Wortley, Director of the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University and the event’s moderator said: “KOM’s annual Serious Games Conference illustrates clearly the Omani government’s interest in serious games appications and their importance to tourism, heritage and culture, marketing, nation branding and education.”

According to Mohammed Al Maskari, KOM’s Director General, the term Serious Games is no longer a technical term but part of everyday language. We see serious games being built for healthcare applications, designed to help people learn about managing money, preparing emergency services to deal with natural disasters, training air force pilots, guiding geologists on digging oil wells, as well as promoting tourism resorts and promoting national cultural assets.

“Serious gaming can potentially revolutionise the way in which Oman attracts tourists, promotes and protects its cultural assets, attracts inward investment, teaches school and college students and brands the nation. This conference is the Gulf region’s leading event in serious gaming and it’s being held in Muscat, isn’t that marvellous?” smiles KOM’s Director General.

Meanwhile, Tufool Al Dhahab of ITA and an anchor supporter of the conference endorses serious games in education, by saying: “Serious games represents the next evolutionary step in the field of technology-enabled learning, bringing new levels of engagement, motivation and context to the learning process. ITA is delighted about being involved in the Serious Games Conference and given the line-up of highly-experienced international speakers I fully expect this year’s event to be a tremendous success.”

“As a global leader in creative serious gaming technology, The Serious Games Institute is very excited about its role in this year’s conference,” says Wortley. “We’ve a long-standing relationship with KOM and we’re looking to bring the Institute’s know how and global connections to Oman. This is an international event delivered exclusively by serious games experts who are tourism, heritage, culture, education and branding experts. In particular, the conference offers Oman’s government, business community and education sector a really exciting opportunity to learn more about serious games and understand how it can help promote the sultanate’s rich heritage and tourism offer as well as take education and training to a higher level.”

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