Serious games for energy social science research

Georgina Wood*, Dan van der Horst, Rosie Day, Anastasios G. Bakaoukas, Panagiotis Petridis, Shuli Liu, Latifimran Jalil, Mark Gaterell, Elise Smithson, John Barnham, Debbie Harvey, Benqiang Yang, Charn Pisithpunth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


This paper proposes a set of criteria for evaluation of serious games (SGs) which are intended as effective methods of engaging energy users and lowering consumption. We discuss opportunities for using SGs in energy research which go beyond existing feedback mechanisms, including use of immersive virtual worlds for learning and testing behaviours, and sparking conversations within households. From a review of existing SG evaluation criteria, we define a tailored set of criteria for energy SG development and evaluation. The criteria emphasise the need for the game to increase energy literacy through applicability to real-life energy use/management; clear, actionable goals and feedback; ways of comparing usage socially and personal relevance. Three existing energy games are evaluated according to this framework. The paper concludes by outlining directions for future development of SGs as an effective tool in social science research, including games which inspire reflection on trade-offs and usage at different scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1227
Number of pages16
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Issue number10
Early online date14 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


  • domestic energy demand
  • evaluation framework
  • feedback mechanisms
  • serious games


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