The US government sees games as opportunity, not threat

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White house game jam

Gaming is controversial for most governments. Despite all the research saying that gaming is good for you, many vocal people in mainstream media love to talk about violent games causing violent behavior. But the US government isn’t falling for that.

Over on Games Industry, Mark DeLoura, former senior advisor for digital media at the White House, explained that gaming wasn’t seen as some sort of evil entity by the government.

My takeaway after having been in the White House is there’s an interest in seeing if games can be used to address societal challenges. That’s the primary interest in games – we’ve seen other modalities in other media have an impact in different ways over time as we learn how to use them to teach people or express concepts. Can games do that? If they’re not doing that how do we get them to do that? If they’re doing it a little, do they want to do it more? How can we encourage this? That’s the interest.

Of course a big focus is on educational games, but that’s not all. They are also looking at games as a way to spread awareness (think of Plague Inc during the recent Ebola outbreak) as well as improve people’s multitasking skills. The government isn’t so concerned with gaming on its own, but rather how it can fit in to solve the myriad problems facing the country and the international community. While the US doesn’t offer grants or tax breaks for game development like other countries, the government still wants to pursuing gaming as a means of informing citizens, educating and working towards solutions for social problems.

I’m so glad to hear this. I think we often perceive governments (or any authority figures) as not wanting to be involved with gaming because of its perception as a waste of time or a social ill. However, knowing that even governments are paying attention, beyond worrying about violence, legitimizes gaming in a new way and makes me optimistic about future partnerships. Plus, I just love the idea of senators and presidents playing games together – the world would be way more fun if that’s how bipartisan agreements were made.

Last Updated: April 22, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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