16 March 2009

Interactive News Via Online Gaming

Incorporating news stories into online games is a way to encourage deeper engagement with the audience.

This is the view of entertainment technologists Eric Brown and Asi Burak – the founders of the Play the News website.

Visitors to the website can play a range of games based on news events or long-running global issues, taking on different roles and sharing comments and ideas with fellow gamers.

For example, a current game about October’s commando raid in Syria by American forces enables the player to take actions and make predictions representing either the US or Syria.

And it features video footage about the incident from Reuters.com, as well as maps of the region and information on events before and after the raid.

The duo’s company – Impact Games – has also created a popular online game based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict entitled Peacemaker.

In an interview with Poynter Online, Brown said that Play the News helps people to gain an understanding into complex issues.

“It’s the concept and forms that we’ve developed that can help people understand the issue: looking for the underlying issues and then projecting into the future what the possible roles and actions might be.”

He added: “When you package it in this way, you’re engaging someone with an interactive.

“You’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll come back because they care about the story.

“Or the likelihood that they’re following the story because they want to see the next event in that string of actions.”

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