Fox Gaming: Fair and Balanced

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I’m joking (for the moment) about the “fair and balanced” part, but not the part about the gaming.

Fox is buying IGN Entertainment, which runs many current gaming sites, for $650 million. That’s not chump change.

One of Fox’s objectives is to “leverage the unique competencies the company enjoys with its news, sports, and entertainment assets to create a leading internet destination.”

Sports and entertainment is a natural for synergy between mass media and gaming, and no doubt that’s what Fox will mostly try to do

It’s the “news” part that’s the most interesting, namely because it’s already being done.

Did you know that there’s a video game that is designed to teach people how to implement regime-change?

Or that the United Nations has a game called “Food Force” in which players try to feed the residents of a starving island?

Those Israelis who oppose the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza have a game called “Wild West Bank” to push their view. There’s been a video game based on the Palestinian viewpoint for several years now.

And, of course, there’s America’s Army.

All this shows a growing trend to use video games for primarily educational purposes.

This can be used or misused. For instance, “Shakespeare: The Video Game” is and will be a bad idea, period.

However, in areas where interactivity is really important in an activity, well-designed video games are a good idea, and multi-player networked games can be even better.

It will be interesting to see what Fox does, if anything, to “leverage” its news resources in the video arena, but I have a suggestion:

No matter what you think of the situation in New Orleans, don’t you think we’d have been far better off if many of the participants (including the media and outside politicians) had played a video game called “Hurricane” first?

It’s too late for New Orleans, but how about for future floods and storms and terrorist attacks?


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