A few weeks back, I attended the Education Arcade's recent event. The Education Arcade is a MIT-originated group focused on games for learning. There's a bit of a focus on education, not corporate learning, and on academic research, but it's still worthwhile.
For instance, Jane McGonigal had a great presentation on principles for designing massively multiplayer games, based upon her experience with The Beast, and I Love Bees, two games promoting a movie and game, respectively.
Held in conjunction with E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo, and with games now exceeding Hollywood in terms of revenues, this is big), the Education Arcade last year heard how the industry was turning away from trying to address educational games, and we heard a repeated story this year, suggesting that the only way to do real big games was either a killer business model (ahem), or having it sponsored as a promotion.
However, I'd like to suggest that games don't have to be big to be successful (check out Quest), and I argue there are reasonable approximations to a full game-engine that give us much of the benefit at a reasonable investment (though full rule-driven action isn't as expensive as you think, either). In addition, we don't have to achieve commercial polish, really it just has to be better than the usual elearning stuff!
I (naturally :) think games are a powerful way of learning (and I don't mean tarted up quiz shows, or as I call it, "putting lipstick on the pig of fact-based learning") and I want to suggest that there are more ways of doing this than we credit.
So start immersing your learners in the learning task in ways that make them feel engaged. And I hope to see you at the eLearning Guild's Instructional Design conference in Boston June 21-23.