Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st century’s most serious business

Why should we be taking video games more seriously?

In 2008 Nintendo overtook Google to become the world’s most profitable company per employee. The South Korean government will invest $200 billion into its video games industry over the next 4 years. The trading of virtual goods within games is a global industry worth over $10 billion a year. Gaming boasts the world’s fastest-growing advertising market.

In addition to these impressive statistics, video games are creating a whole new science of mass engagement which is beginning to revolutionise the way we research and understand economics, human behaviour and democratic participation. Games are used to train the US Military, to model global pandemics and to campaign against human rights abuses in Africa.

Journalist and author Tom Chatfield visits the RSA to examine the ways in which virtual game worlds can function as unprecedented laboratories for exploring human motivations, and for evaluating economic theories that it has never been possible before to test experimentally.

He will argue that games are becoming one of the most powerful tools available for raising awareness of political, ethical and environmental issues, and promoting action across an extraordinary range of fields and disciplines – from medicine to warfare to, perhaps most importantly, education.

Response by Ed Vaizey MP, Shadow Minister for Culture

Chaired by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

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