Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Commissioned games

Alice has a post up describing what she's been up to at Channel 4 in the UK. Well worth reading, but here's the short version cut and pasted:

I work for Channel 4commissioning educational stuff for teenagers (snip)
Most of what I commission is games, for the simple fact that teenagers love games. If that's what they love, then let's put the good stuff in there, goes the reasoning (snip)
Our mission: to get educational stuff to UK teens aged 14-19, stuff that'll help them get from puberty to adulthood, and to get on in life (snip)
Public service gaming is fantastic. There should be more of it. There will be more of it! (snip)
She goes on to list some samples of what they've been working on and I agree, it's great.

Developers should take note of a funding model that shouldn't be balked at. Television's shown us that publicly funded productions can be every bit as good and successful as commercial products. The BBC (Alice's former employer) has funded many significant works ranging from Planet Earth to Doctor Who to Monty Python. (this won't stop me from making Benny Hill references over drinks when I bump into Alice at conferences though).

There's a lot to think about here. For developers, it's another avenue of funding that may grow larger over time. For publishers and distributors, it's competition with their commercial products. And for gamers (or parents of wee gamers) it's potentially a source of games that aren't just trying to sell your kids something.

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