On Saturday evening, the non-profit Games for Change and Microsoft announced at the G4C Festival at Parsons Design School that they were launching together a new initiative to around the theme of climate change. Entitled "The XBox360 Games for Change Challenge," this project will challenge college students around the world to come up with the best XBOX game based on the theme of global warming, with cash prizes for the winner.
I was lucky enough to be at the reception when the Microsoft exec made this exciting announcement. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal that opens up the XBox to a whole new generation of future game developers, creates interest and education about climate change, and promotes the concept of games as social change agents. If you want to reach the hearts and minds of millions of gamers, its going to be through consoles, not PC-based or web-based games.
The complete announcement follows after the jump.
Published June 11, 2007
New York—Microsoft and Games for Change (G4C) announced a joint commitment to explore new ways to bring together the world of digital gaming with the world of social change at the fourth annual Games for Change Festival at Parsons The New School for Design.
Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge
Microsoft has outlined an all-new socially minded global gaming competition, the "Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge." This worldwide competition, set to launch this summer to participants in more than 100 countries, will challenge college students to come up with the best game based on the theme of global warming. Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, made the announcement during the 2007 Games for Change Festival Expo Night, following an introduction from Bob Kerrey, president of The New School and former Nebraska Senator.
Microsoft and Games for Change will award cash prizes to the best entries, which can be applied to the students’ education. Winners will receive an invitation to present their entries to the Microsoft games management team for possible inclusion as a download in the popular Xbox LIVE Arcade service. Finally, the first place team or individual will also win the opportunity to become an apprentice at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business as part of its internship program.
XNA Game Studio Express
The students will develop games based on global warming using Microsoft® XNA™ Game Studio Express software. Launched in December of 2006, XNA Game Studio Express has democratized game development by leveling the playing field for smaller game developers, non-professionals, and academics who wish to be involved in driving innovation and creativity in the game design process.
"The current generation of gamers is among the most socially conscious in history," said Suzanne Seggerman, co-founder and president of Games for Change. "We know from experience that young people are looking for ways to help make the world a better place, and who better to support this effort than an industry leader like Microsoft?"
"Microsoft is very happy to work with Games for Change in taking video gaming to a whole new level by bringing in brand-new concepts and people to the game-making process," said Bell. "We are passionate about the potential games have in expanding horizons, creating networks, and helping design real-world solutions."