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Home arrow Latest Additions arrow McDonald's Serious Game Controversy

McDonald's Serious Game Controversy E-mail
Written by Lisa Galarneau   
Tuesday, 06 June 2006
UPDATE!  Turns out that there is quite a lot of speculation that this was in fact a hoax, though the facts are not entirely clear and there is quite a lot of confusion between this occurrence and the release of the McVideogame parody a while back.  But it does explain why the business cards the two fellows gave me had that feeling of not being quite as solid as a big corporation might ordinarily use, unless they were seriously trying to cut some corners.  When will I learn to be more skeptical?


I've been at the International Serious Games Event in Birmingham, England where yesterday the most extraordinary thing happened.  A fellow from McDonald's by the name of Andrew Shimery-Wolf was scheduled to do a talk about a nice training application that his group, McDonald's Interactive, had developed to train managers on the ins and outs of the business.  Think Burger Tycoon.  Standard serious games stuff.  But at some point we all realize that this isn't just a talk about how this training tool had proved its ROI... rather it's an expose...

The training application, a game-based simulation of the McDonald's business (called McMarketplace), based on verifiable economic and resource usage data, had made it clear to everyone in the interactive division that the business model was not viable long-term unless they were to cut emissions by 70%, something that seems impossible within the current business climate.  Otherwise what they were doing would not only spell the end of McDonald's, but might also contribute to more general planetary calamity.  They took the story to their management, where they were ignored, then to legislators in the U.S., who said there was nothing that could be done.  Now they have decided to break the whole story in hopes that McDonald's might cut the whole division loose.  Andrew Shimery-Wolf and Sam Grossman, the Division CTO, fully expect the full wrath of the corporation to fall on them.  But they don't seem bothered. 

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