Will Minecraft Experience take off in design and PLM?

Will Minecraft Experience take off in design and PLM?


We speak about new technological trends and how to simplify enterprise implementation. At the same time, large CAD and PLM deployments are experiencing integration and user experience challenges. File based paradigm is the one all mainstream CAD systems are supporting. The challenges of enterprise integration and complex user experience are real and customers are experiencing it every day.

The article Collaborative Design Software in Today’s medical development is discussing few trends and gives few examples how to solve these problems. It brings back the idea of gamification, but takes it for real with the example of Minecraft software. Here is the passage from an article:

Gathering online to design buildings and cities, more than 100 million people worldwide are registered users of the low-resolution video game Minecraft. In early 2015, the pocket edition of the game for iOS and Android devices passed the 30 million download mark. Called by some the Legos of the 21st century, Minecraft is more than just a game, it’s a sign of where design is going.

The idea of cloud software that can stitch fragmented data is appealing as something that will take off in the future PLM platforms. This is where execs from both Autodesk and Dassault Systems are agreeing. According to Carl White of Autodesk:

“When we came off the drafting board into CAD, we were looking for ways to get rid of the roadblocks in design,” says Carl White, senior director of manufacturing engineering products at software provider Autodesk. “One of those last roadblocks is fitting different designs together. With the cloud, you’re not dealing with different designs. You have one version of the product, and everyone’s using that.”

Somewhat similar idea of integrated experience is coming from Monica Menghini of Dassault Systemes.

“Our platform of 12 software applications covers 3D modeling (SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, GEOVIA, BIOVIA); simulation (3DVIA, DELMIA, SIMULA); social and collaboration (3DSWYM, 3DXCITE, ENOVIA); and information intelligence (EXALEAD, NETVIBES),” explains Monica Menghini, Dassault executive vice president and chief strategy officer. “These apps together create the experience. No single point solution can do it – it requires a platform capable of connecting the dots. And that platform includes cloud access and social apps, design, engineering, simulation, manufacturing, optimization, support, marketing, sales and distribution, communication (PR and advertising), PLM – all aspects of a business; all aspects of a customer’s experience.”

Both examples are interesting and can provide some space to fantasy about future ideal experience when files are gone and applications are integrated. However, the real life is much complex and can set many roadblocks. Here are top 3 things that design software companies need to solve to open roads towards future PLM minecraft universe.

1- Platform openness. It is hard to believe customers will use a software package from a single vendor. What is the future concept of openness that will be powerful enough to support companies’ business and don’t block customers workflows?

2- Legacy data. Engineering and manufacturing companies are owning a huge amount of existing data. This is live IP and knowledge. How to make them available in new platforms? This is not a trivial problem to solve from many aspects – technical, legal and time.

3- Educational barrier. Technologies are easy, but people are hard. Vendors can bring new technologies and platforms. At the same time, people will be still looking for known and familiar experience. Yes, new generation of people likes web and online. But engineering and manufacturing workforce is different.

What is my conclusion? Minecraft experience is a brilliant marketing idea. However, I’d be thinking first about customer adoption and transition. After all, many great product initiatives were dead on arrival because of customers had hard time to adopt it and use it in a realistic environment with existing data and everyday problems. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Share This Post

  • David

    Hi Oleg, great that you post this and hopefully start a interesting discussion. You could say I am an born again gamer, being drawn back to gaming as the latest generation of cooperative games came to market. Gaming (we are not playing here) with others is so much fun and a huge part of it is collaboratively solving problems.
    Something that is not apparent when discussing Minecraft or any of the many other collaborative building games on the market is that while the act of building itself is relatively easy, i.e. choose from about 100 or so block types and place them on a 3D grid, the act of designing and placing the right blocks in the right place at the right time is not facilitated by any of these games. This is facilitated purely by good communication between the team members. I have been involved in the development of some early access games and have been bringing my CAD and PLM background into that arena, designers in these games need similar tools to real engineers and designers. They need sketching tools, note taking tools and ways to access information for the build.

  • beyondplm

    David, thanks for your comment and experience sharing! The topic of games is in discussion for the last few years. I haven’t seen significant progress, but people keep trying. You can take a look on one of my earlier blogs about that.

    PLM and the future of gamification


    Best, Oleg

  • Really fascinating train of thought here, the game development needs some form of PLM, which up to this point has been largely limited to SCM, or more specifically simplified source control. But the reverse is also true, PLM and CAD could also benefit from principles of game design, and not just trivial gamification like PB&L (Points Badges and Leaderboards). Started a series on that a while back: http://eng-eng.com/enterprise-game-saga-episode-1-press-start/ need to add to that series soon.

  • beyondplm

    Ed, thanks for your comment and link sharing! It made me think even more about how gaming can be involved into generating users’ traction and more.