Game-based learning, aka educational gaming, is on the rise. According to the industry analyst firm Metaari's most recent Global Game-Based Learning Market report, the game-based learning industry will amount to over $17 billion by 2023.
The executive summary of the report offers an overview of the industry segment for the next five years, looking at games and developers that are focused on game-based learning across 122 countries. These games, which the report refers to as "Serious Games," use gameplay with competition and a reward or penalty system to encourage and track behavior modification and education of the player. These games are often purchased by schools, universities, government agencies, and businesses (as well as individual consumers) to use in learning environments. While some are obviously educational games from box art on in, games like Minecraft, Roblox, Assassin's Creed (with Origins' Discovery Mode), and various VR experiences qualify to fall under the Serious Games umbrella.
This market, according to Metaari, will reach $17 billion by 2023 with a current five-year compound annual growth rate of 37.1%. This will be driven by ongoing innovations in AR, VR, and AI technologies primarily, though mobile games will also play a large role through Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore technology.
To support this prediction, Metaari looks at a number of factors across its report. Notably, private investments in such games have been at all-time highs in the last two years, with over $1.7 billion in funding going toward companies dedicated to educational games globally.
An example of VR's success in particular comes as the report looks at VR Educational Holdings in Ireland, which made the VR educational game Apollo 11. Since the game's 2016 launch, it has sold over 120,000 copies and generated over $1.2 million.
Metaari expects Africa to have the highest growth rate (60.1%) over the next five years, with revenue for educational games multiplying by 10 during that time. Currently, North America has the second-highest growth rate, and Asia Pacific and North America together are expected to account for 71% of educational game revenue by 2023. By country, China, the US, and India currently have the highest revenues for these games.