Games are a tremendously unifying force, but like angry revolution songs of the sixties or gangster rap today, we make zero sum games that empower through violence. When you look at multiplayer games, you see we are removing countries, religion, language, distance, class, culture and all other divisive forces through games, isn't it time to build one with unifying content on a unifying platform?
Games can destroy, and games can build.
Games can empower and inspire.
Games allow a young generation to rebel and find their own voice.
The establishment is afraid of games because they do not understand. In 1970, the White House was afraid of John Lennon, today it is afraid of Rockstar Games. Lennon disseminated his message through songs because he knew 100 million people would hear what he wrote. 200 million people own a game platform. 3 billion if we count phones. Like music, games move seamlessly across borders and afford total communication
John Lennon and Yoko Ono introduced the concept of Bagism. In short, by wearing a bag, we remove the obstacle of prejudging someone according to the length of their hair or the color of their skin, enabling certain people to be more inclined to take the words and ideas of others more seriously. Thereby affording total communication. Or as explained to David Frost:
John Lennon : If people did interviews for jobs in a bag they wouldn’t get turned away because they were black or green or long hair, you know, it’s total communication...
David Frost : ...They'd get turned away because they were in a bag...(Audience laughter)
John Lennon : Well no, if that was specified that when you interviewed the people that you wanted to employ, and you had this prejudice, and the people had to wear a bag - then you'd only judge them on what they communicated to you, and You wouldn't have to think 'Oh he's wearing black suede is he, don't like it'....
100 million people in Asia, Europe and North America play massively multiplayer games inside the bag John Lennon described, but nobody has built the game world's "Imagine." Today in the massively multiplayer world Chinese gamers play across borders with Koreans, who at least on paper, would not be friends - or even speak. They are judged only by their contribution to the game and the guild, not the color of the skin, nationality or religion. Each new perspective enhances the game, rather than detracting from the interaction.
The Non Zero Sum Game
Games need not be violent or zero sum. Imagine a game where people are incentivized to join together in communities to solve issues. Imagine the entire game community winning as a group. We have seen the power of the Seti and the Folding distributed computing projects. We are also seeing the power of the "Hive Mind" in alternative reality games. What if we combine the power of distributed computing with distributed mindshare and make a non zero sum game which not only educates, but contributes to the solution of world issues? The first step to solving any issue is understanding. Through games, people will communicate, empathize, and help.
The barrier to mass market appeal of games is not the nature of games, or the content, it is the interface. As Apple showed with the Macintosh and Nintendo is showing through its Wii, if you remove the interface, you open the market. I gave a Wii to my 72 year old father in law who never touched a game. He has not stopped playing Tiger Woods Golf. Our vision can remove the interface and make games accessible. If people can access and play the game without a game controller and without a visual interface, they will join in droves.
Do Well While Doing Good
World of Warcraft from Vivendi Games is closing in on its 10 millionth paid subscriber. The add on pack to the game sold in the US alone at the rate of 100,000 units per hour for the first 24 hours, unprecedented for a PC Game. Companies like Webzen and Shanda have games in Asia with subscription bases of over 40 million people. Nexon is expanding globally. While this is impressive, the real value is in the network. World of Warcraft is a platform. Let's turn on the power. Let's use these platforms to take distributed computing three feet further into every living room and exploit distributed thinking.
As gamers, we have the power, the following, the ability. Let's make the world better.