Experts are usually the only people able to gain a comprehensive insight into complex energy system components. However, a new online game called Power Matrix now allows anyone who is interested to regulate the energy grid of a city and provide it with an energy mix that ensures an optimal balance between ecological and economic considerations. The Siemens game offers users an interesting overview of smart grid operation and the interrelationships between different forms of power generation.
The actual goal of the strategy game is to transform a rural region into an urban center. The player who generates the greatest amount of energy at the lowest level of resource utilization wins the game. The key to success here is the optimal application of many electricity generation technologies. The degree of urbanization of each player's new city increases in line with the quality of its energy system.
Among other things, the new game is designed to raise awareness of energy market mechanisms and rules, and thus increase public acceptance of the energy transition in Germany. Players are given a realistic idea of how modern energy systems work. The game is designed not only for energy experts but also for other interested individuals and online gamers. Correspondingly, the problems are complex and varied. Both traditional and renewable energy sources are available for the players to use, and when they choose power plants, they need to consistently take budgets, output, and sustainability aspects into account if they want their digital city to prosper.
Siemens believes the fast-growing online gaming format is ideal for Power Matrix, which is a combination of entertainment and information. After all, German online gamers are the most active in Europe. According to the Comscore market research institute, some 29.3 million Germans spent an average of 2.2 hours playing games online in July 2012 alone. It remains to be seen whether these gamers are interested in energy systems - but the fact that Power Matrix can now be played and is free might give them a reason to try it out.