Future Energy Networks and the Role of Interactive Gaming as Simulation
Danielle Barrios-O’Neill & Alan Hook
Futures [forthcoming] Available online.
As history progresses, human beings find themselves playing non-zero-sum games with more and more other human beings. Interdependence expands, and social complexity grows in scope and depth.
- Robert Wright, Nonzero (2001)
Gaming is one of those topics that never seems to run out of steam for interesting new applications. In this paper, Alan and I look at how games can simulate complexity for users, and how that can be harnessed for energy transitions.
Not only is there a major demographic overlap among those most likely to be gamers and those most likely to adopt new (eg. renewable energy) tech, but games are also able to engage users on emotional and rational levels that simple exposition of facts cannot do. There are also a lot of ways that games can literally link into energy grids and other sources of energy data in the real world, especially within the emerging Internet of Things.
We make the argument that game simulations are likely to become instrumental in cultivating more complex forms of interaction around energy use, and more complex cultural analysis of energy use.