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December 13, 2018
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Why Humanity Depends on Game Devs

by E McNeill on 10/18/17 09:08:00 am   Expert Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Yes, the title is hyperbolic. But please consider it if you haven't before:

1) “In the 2000s, employment rates for young men with less than a four-year degree dropped sharply – more than in any other group. We have determined that, in general, they are not going back to school or switching careers, so what are they doing with their time? The hours that they are not working have been replaced almost one for one with leisure time. Seventy-five percent of this new leisure time falls into one category: video games.... Happiness surveys actually indicate that they [are] quite content compared to their peers.” - Erik Hurst, University of Chicago economist

2) “Technological change provides us with great benefits but requires fewer and fewer people to actually do the work...We've got to seriously think about how we widen the circle of prosperity, how we get shared prosperity. Otherwise, who's going to be the customer? And a minimal guarantee with regard to income, it seems to me as almost inevitable.” - Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor

3) “When tens of millions of people buy our game we’re pumping a substance into the environment. And I dont just mean the packaging; I mean the mental content of that game. This is a public mental health issue and thats kind of scary if you take it seriously but its also kind of cool. It means that we have the power to shape humanity. It means that we in this room are very powerful people. And how are we going to use that power? What are we going to do with it?” - Jonathan Blow, game designer

In the future, if society gets its act together, there's a chance that game developers will become the world's primary meaning-makers. Our design values will define what life is like for much of the world. It's worth spending some of your time to reflect on what those values might be and what effect your games will have on the world, especially if you believe this future might come to pass.

E McNeill (@E_McNeill)

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