Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gamers can be engaged politically

Last month, Microsoft announced a partnership with Rock the Vote, a group which works to engage young people with the political process. This partnership enables Xbox Live subscribers to have voter registration materials sent to them by making a request right from the Dashboard, and provides content from both political parties to allow gamers to become more informed about a candidate or issue. I watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech from the Democratic National Convention and have downloaded John McCain's acceptance speech from the Republican National Convention.

I spotted a story on Edge Online announcing that 100,000 Xbox Live users had participated in an unofficial presidential poll on Xbox Live where users could express their preference for a candidate by downloading the candidate's corresponding gamer picture.

From the above story:
"According to Microsoft, the sample of 100,000 voters was larger than the combined samples from individual Gallup, NBC and CNN polls."
"The company said that more than 55,000 voter registration forms were downloaded through Xbox Live and Xbox.com during the first two weeks of the program, and that videos from the recent Democratic and Republican conventions were downloaded nearly 25,000 times."
Those are impressive numbers.

Admittedly, not all Xbox Live subscribers are of legal age to vote, and not all who participated in this poll will go out and actually vote, but the majority of gamers are over 18 and if nothing else, this partnership will raise gamers' awareness and hopefully their level of knowledge about the political process.

If candidates and others want young people to vote and be interested in the process, becoming informed needs to be easy and can't be blocked by barriers to entry like poring through lengthy newspaper diatribes or suffering through the "talking heads" on every news network.

This is politics on demand, and gamers don't even have to let go of their controllers.

1 comment:

Maharet said...

i love that! it's actually a great concept that over the years will more that prove itself i'm sure. :) i'm sharing your article with my friends on utterli.