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Serious Games For Global Problem-Solving

Via: Microsoft - Microsoft, Games for Change Team Up to Encourage Global Problem-Solving Through Digital Gaming

Microsoft Corp. and Games for Change (G4C) announced early this week 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.

As part of the announcement, Microsoft outlined an all-new socially minded global gaming competition, Xbox 360™ Games for Change Challenge, to drive awareness for games based on social themes.

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 the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, made the announcement during the 2007 Games for Change Festival Expo Night, following an introduction from Bob Kerrey, the president of The New School and a former Nebraska senator.

The United Nations group that tracks global warming forecasts different levels of warming, based on different assumptions about population, energy usage and economic growth. All show a sudden spike in temperatures over the next decades. Graph: IPCC

Microsoft and Games for Change will award cash prizes to the best entries. In addition to the prize money, which can be applied to the winner’s education, winners will receive an invitation to visit Microsoft to present their entry 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.

The students will develop games based on global warming using Microsoft® XNA™ Game Studio Express software. Launched in December 2006, XNA Game Studio Express has democratized game development by leveling the playing field for smaller game developers, nonprofessionals 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?”

Warmer air temperatures over the past 50 years are only one of several possible causes of recent large icebergs breaking off from Antarctica

The Games for Change Festival is part intellectual symposium, part game emporium. Now in its fourth year, the festival brings together academics, game creators, nonprofit representatives, business executives and activists to discuss the impact of games on our culture and evaluate the potential for a new genre of socially minded video games.

“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,” Bell said. “We are passionate about the potential games have in expanding horizons, creating networks and helping design real-world solutions.”