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Obama administration requests federal deficit game

US government asks Microsoft's Steve Ballmer to make "viral" financial game

The Obama administration in the U.S. has apparently requested that Microsoft create a "deficit-reduction video game", according to a report by newspaper USA Today.

In a wider article on the US federal deficit, the article claims that fiscal commission co-chair Erskine Bowles has "been in touch" with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about creating the game.

Although no other details of the proposed title are given, Democratic senator Bob Kerrey is quoted as suggesting that the game could "go viral".

The U.S. national debt is currently put at $12.8 trillion and the game is intended to help illustrate the difficulty, and necessity, of reducing the figure.

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Latest comments (13)

Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 6 years ago
Are they not having enough fun playing for real?
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Claire Blackshaw Senior Online Consultant, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe6 years ago
Games are a great people to get people involved, and teach the complexities of systems without boring the audience. Its a really interesting area.

The recent MP for a week (click here) game is a good example. It generated a lot of interest.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Aren't some of the sim city type games used to help teach town planning courses?

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Show all comments (13)
Salomón Hamud First Party and Commercial Manager, Slang6 years ago
The great challenge would be the game to actually be fun to play... just as the Sims. It also shouldn't have any strong political view or stand right?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Well, he and Ben Bernanke would be about the worst players on the planet.
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That's a great idea, although I can see from miles away the Republicans jumping on it and doing all sorts of poo pooing about how bad the administration has done in terms of debt (although at the moment there is no number to back that up, but we're used to Reps lying blatantly).
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Shane Sweeney Academic 6 years ago
This is a great idea, but why ask Microsoft? Or even worse Steve Ballmer himself who still gets confused when talking about even the basics of there games division.
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Robert Walter 3D artist 6 years ago
I'm guessing they would have asked CCP, but couldn't get over the name.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Shann, I'm not a Republican but here is plenty of real numbers to back up that claim.
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Robert Douglas Studying B.A in Game Art and Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh6 years ago
Without turning this into a political forum, it is too bad most don't realize the difficulty of inheriting the large debt that 8 years of war from Bush Jr. can leave behind. Just look @ the numbers from Bush Sr. to Clinton to Bush Jr. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_de... not the best source I know, but it will do. Remember that whenever we are at war, the deficit will increase, just look at how we (the US) did after the WWII and the great depression: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html While Obama is no saint as far as his spending, we wouldn't be here if we didn't have the previous President's war spending to inherit (regardless of how one feels about the war).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Robert Douglas on 16th April 2010 6:57pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Of course both are guilty of it. Though Obama's administration has equaled the 8 years of debt created by Bush in less than 1 year.

While I understand the nuances of being inaugurated into debt and war, it is no excuse for perpetuating it and increasing it exponentially.

However, the issue isn't specific to 1 administration or even 1 party over the other but the flawed ideology of Keynesian economics. I find it ironic that a follower of Keynesian economics wants a game on federal deficits developed.
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So, asking Microsoft is like asking Mattel to make Lego. They are both in the toys industry, but it would probably not be quite the same experience you get.

It would be great to have such a budget game, but maybe Microsoft is not the most ideal. There is a well-established number of companies doing serious games that knows how to do these things.

If the project kick offs it might be worth looking at France where they did a similar budget game a few years back with great success.

Feel free to check out my company http://www.seriousgames.dk that have been toying a bit in around in the field.
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Tony Johns6 years ago
Maybe Microsoft was the only company that the President knew about that still existed, knowing that Atari is only a publisher company nowdays and the Atari that Obama once knew no longer exists anymore.

Also, maybe Obama thinks that Microsoft has got allot more money than his own government.... -_-....

Anyway, I think that Sim City is the best type of game that best represents the difficulties of running a city, or maybe make a Sim Country in order to demonstrate how difficult it is to run an entire country where you can be voted out of power if you are bad at being a politician.

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