You’re Playing CPG

Why We Need a Corporation for Public Gaming argues that we need a publicly funded organization dedicated to making high-quality, educational games for the public good.

The author, David Rejeski, made comparisons with the television industry, noting that noncommercial programming did not do very well without government involvement. A Corporation for Public Gaming would fund the educational games that aren’t as commercially viable as another FPS.

…The interactive nature of games, their ability to present complex and dynamic information, and, increasingly, to allow thousands of people to meet in sophisticated virtual environments means games can accomplish what TV never could in terms of addressing educational and social challenges.

However, serious games, like serious TV, are likely to remain a sidebar in the history of mass media. Non-commercial television floundered, despite millions of dollars of investment by the Ford Foundation, until the government stepped in and created a viable and long-lasting alternative. With similar vision and foresight, and a relatively small amount of funding, this could happen with video and computer games.

Some people complain that public television holds a political agenda, and so people might worry that games will be made that also express certain political viewpoints. “Not with my tax dollars!” is the cry. I haven’t really looked too much into public television’s supposed problems, but I believe that unpopular viewpoints need to be expressed. Unpopular pretty much means that it wouldn’t have funding from anyone.

If the industry is going to go where the money goes, then it isn’t likely that many serious games will get the funding they need. The CPG would also be an interesting development because it would also raise awareness in the general public about the nature of video games. Most people still believe that video games are just for kids, for example.

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