25 September 2006

Serious Games Balance French Budget

We've just spotted a BBC story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4946496.stm) about a new game from the French Budget Minister, called Cyberbudget. In the game, players are tasked with the fun filled pleasures of balancing the French Budget. Similar programs have been used in the US on a State level, but this is the first time we've heard of an entire country handing over its budget to gamers. While it would be interesting if the best gamer won the Budget Minister’s job the game is designed to instill empathy in the player for what the Budget Minister has to do to balance France's budget. Players will have to make decisions about increasing taxes or closing down schools, sports facilities and state-run Old People's Homes. Once the player has their budget ready they can even present it to a virtual parliament for approval. With the capacity for 10,000 concurrent players hopefully someone will figure out how to balance the budget, cut taxes and save the schools.

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