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Game Platforms as Political Platforms?

BY Michael Tate | Thursday, August 21 2008

John McCain's campaign release of the online game "Pork Invaders," as a Facebook application, wasn't a game changer but a prelude of future message strategy. Video games will be added to the multitude of political channels that a political campaign must have a presence on. Microsoft has now announced what could become the "YouTube" of video games -- Xbox LIVE Community Games.

This fall, Microsoft will launch "Xbox LIVE Community Games." It will feature games created with Microsoft's XNA Game Studio, a game development tool that works with Visual C# 2005 Express Edition. Creating a game will still require programming skills, but XNA makes it super easy for anyone -- me, you, a political campaign -- to code and publish a video game for the Xbox 360.

For a major video game console to open up like this, it's a major breakthrough. It used to be very difficult (and sometimes impossible) for an individual game developer to produce and release their game for any major gaming platform.

Xbox LIVE Community Games is a great way to not only push a campaign message but also raise money. Producers who release games on Xbox LIVE Community Games will "reap the benefits of a closed distribution system and the muscle of Microsoft, as well as up to 70 percent of the profits."

In the 2008 presidential election campaign season, more channels of communication than ever before have been used to reach us. It is not unfathomable that a future political message strategy incorporates an addictive arcade game to their arsenal.

We've seen viral videos. Get ready for viral video games.