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Why Games?

Computer and video games have emerged as one of the most powerful mediums of the 21st Century, generating billions of hours of highly engaged entertainment and surpassing even the film industry in terms of revenues. A growing body of research is also highlighting the enormous potential of games to drive meaningful and measurable learning, health and social impact (see 12).

Throughout the world a broad cross-section of leaders from academia, philanthropy, public and private sectors are eager to harness the power of the medium to create more engaging and effective education models, foster healthy living practices, more efficiently train employees and, engage global youth in the critical issues facing a highly-connected, fast-moving 21st Century world.  Games immerse learners in new levels of interactivity, personalization, engagement, community and complexity driving new and innovative 24/7 play, learning, social interaction, and entrepreneurial models across schools, industry, government, philanthropy and universities (1).

Recognizing the enormous potential of digital games, many leading foundations, academic institutions and government agencies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to harness the power of the medium to further their learning, health and social impact goals.  These investments in research and development are beginning to yield very positive proof-points through pilot implementations.  Unfortunately, however, the majority of these pilot impact game projects have not reached and engaged their target audience at significant scale and even fewer of these projects are financially sustainable.  

There currently exists a significant gap in design, development and publishing expertise within the ecosystem of impact games. There is currently no university hub that focuses on the intersection between the commercial computer and video game industry, the philanthropic and public interest sectors and academia. To fully realize the enormous potential of the medium, there needs be stronger, more innovative public-private partnerships across the commercial game sector, academia and the growing impact games community, as along with more rigorous design, development and publishing methodologies for impact games. With the amount of investment being used to grow this sector, it is our opportunity, if not responsibility, to ensure that this emerging discipline evolves in a manner that best serves the needs of society. The time is ripe and the location is ideal.