Games as Agents of Change

This week I was able to attend day one of the latest European Women in Games Conference. What an awesome day. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend and participate in a number of Women in Games events but I have to say the conference this year was of the highest quality. The selection of speakers and panel guests were fantastic. Do look them all up and catch some of the recorded talks on twitch if you can.

It also solidified in my mind a rising issue that I have not really been able to stop thinking about since EGX Rezzed in April. This relates to the mismatching between funding and funds. But also what needs to be funded.

I am confident individuals on the panels could have helped and so I want to try and connect to a number of them again. However I didn’t pose questions at the event as who needs to hear from another privileged white male in that setting. More voices needed to express themselves at the event and I enjoyed every question and comment.

I do however want to move this concern of mine forward over the next year and will need help and support to do so.

So what am I talking about I hear you cry!?

The issue is why are “the Games industry” and the UK government not properly funding independent gaming making?

The data is clear: games and interactive experiences are able to create positive impact and behavioural change in ways that outstrip other media and outreach activities.

Games are proven to be more powerful than film and music in engaging people in empathy, understanding and compassion.

Games enable marginalised communities to tell their story in ways that bridge the gaps between people and communities.

This is coupled with the fact that our world faces challenges it has never seen before that truly require people to be united in order to make progress.

Yet every one of the makers that have realised that they can have this type of impact, raised concerns on funding, not just for the project itself but just to pay the bills. They often resign themselves to the fact that this is the life of an “Artist”. This is often coupled with a realisation that the large games companies fail to take risks and just back the same titles again and again.

The games industry is the biggest entertainment industry on the planet. The money in the games industry is huge.

The Planet needs people to make big changes in the way they engage with the environment and each other.

So it’s appears we have found a medium that can right now be a huge force for positive change. We have games companies making massive profits. Yet the creators that could lead the way in this are struggling to pay their household bills.

This is at least a missed opportunity and at worst a gross injustice given the clear need right now for global change.

Games can change the world so why are we not funding the heck out of independent game makers?

I thus think we need to raise awareness of the need for funding and lobby governments and companies to urgently fund diverse game making.

I have some ideas on where we could start but need to do some more thinking about this and more importantly do this thinking with others.

Let me know what you think and if you would like to get involved via this forum link.

My own initial quick ideas :

  • Game makers need to know about all the funding that they could access across the creative industries.
  • Game makers need to have the up to date research and data on how games are and can have huge impact to support gaining funding.
  • Game makers need a place network to discuss and share resources to support indie game making.
  • Supporting a Sustainable diverse game maker community is really important.
  • Return on Investment is not the only and possibly not the best way to measure success.
Adam Procter @adamprocter