Games can be a clever way to gain knowledge about a market and provide a simulated way for people to play with the products you sell.
"IT Manager III: Unseen Forces" does just that. It's an online game developed by Intel that touches on the aspirations of any IT manager to become the CTO of a global enterprise.
The game is set in an IT Department of a fictitious company. The aim is for the player to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the company by applying special powers to a fleet of PC's, laptops and servers. In the meantime, the player faces a constant array of technology issues that pose threats to the company's bottom line.
Successful players discover that their IT department and company expand, leading to more challenges that come with any corporate expansion.
The "special powers," gives the game a sense that the IT Manager is like the "Clark Kent," of the enterprise. He's the ordinary guy who fixes the laptop when it crashes. But in actuality he is a super hero, who, of course, uses the special powers of Intel technology to save the day and bring new glory to the corporation.
The game is entertaining and can be a bit stressful, too, as glowing, red wrenches float over the heads of the people who need assistance. This game is about gaining work knowledge but also about the culture and the camaraderie that comes with working in an IT department. In the game the player can unwind after a stressful day or engage in friendly competitive games.
For instance, the game has its own sense of humor that runs through the IT culture of any enterprise. Employees who need help are sometimes spoofed for the types of questions they are asked. An employee with a faulty monitor may ask what is wrong with their television. Hilarious is the "bozon" count that measures the level of technical naivety. Awards are given that include an "attitude adjustment and an "Order of the Reboot," medal. It provides the hopeful intention of giving the user a reason to come back to the game, a place where they can relate to their peers.
The game is definitely intended to serve as a community builder for Intel. Developers can show off their high scores and player profiles on their web sites. Code snippets are available for badges. It has also been localized into 12 languages. Players may also use a Facebook application.
The entire experience of the game is to engage IT managers in the world of Intel technology with the goal of becoming an IT superhero. It looks like Intel has done its research. The game is engaging and recognizes the culture of the IT worker. The only risk is if the game becomes too much about Intel instead of the user who is playing the game. Bu at first look, that does not appear to be the case.