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New hires join Mike Hayes at Serious Games International

Studio for commercial development born from Coventry Uni institute

A new commercial unit producing games and apps for the public and private sector has emerged from the Coventry University Serious Games Institute, headed up by Mike Hayes.

Serious Games International will produce games designed for advertising, customer engagement, recruitment and various other commercial needs, hoping to capitalise on a growing market - which the firm believes will expand to an estimated value of £3-4 billion in the next 24-36 months.

Hayes, a long-term industry veteran and previously head of SEGA West, was appointed as executive chairman of the concern recently and has been joined by several high profile executives recruited this week. Mark Stanger, of Eidos and WB Games joins as commercial director, SEGA's Gary Knight as a branding consultant, Paul Ranson as development director and Mark Cottam and Felix Bradshaw for business development and operations.

"Serious Games International is an offshoot of the serious Games Institute which was set up at Coventry University several years ago," Hayes told "In fact it was the first serious games institute of any university in the world so they've spent several years in R&D to markets, use habits and building several prototypes and products.

"What they wanted to do, with the explosion of the market, certainly in the last year if not two years, is to commercialise all of that R&D. We're trying to establish a customer base, a good R&D group and of course we need to employ good people. Serious gaming is one of the fastest growing parts of interactive entertainment. It's going to grow to £3-4bn in the next 2-3 years."

Hayes hopes to attract customers from both the public and private sectors and says that the company is already working with clients in business and healthcare.

"The whole serious game/gamification market is pretty broad, so it's private and public sector. The gamespace learning is already a massive market and kind of separated from gamification and serious gaming. It's going to apps used in hospitals for patients, it's going to be homecare. But it's also going to be for the private sector, where we can help them communicate with their employees, to recruit or provide training, build customer loyalty. But also fun apps for advertisers and media companies who want something more than just low grade apps on smartphones and tablets."

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Dan Pearson