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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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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
JournalTechnology Analysis & Strategic Management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


EPSRC within the BuildTEDDI programme [grant number E8439]


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


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